The 4th of July weekend approaches with the hum of air tankers and smoke filled skies. With the extreme fire conditions the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) has implemented Stage II fire restrictions effective June 27, 2013.
“With higher than normal temperatures, extremely dry fuels and the increase risk of dry lightning we think going to Stage II fire restrictions is prudent,” stated Diana Allen, Fire Management Officer. In addition, the PSICC has prepositioned additional initial attack resources including additional engines, patrol units, hand crews, suppression modules and smokejumpers. “We’re doing what we can to protect our public lands and associated communities. We’re now asking the public to help us out,” said Allen.
Stage II restrictions prohibit campfires; allows smoking only in designated areas and enclosed vehicles; restricts the use of welding, combustible engines and explosives; and restricts motorized vehicles to designated roads and trails.
The PSICC is urging all visitors to leave their fireworks at home. Possessing fireworks on U.S. Forest Service lands is always prohibited. Rangers patrolling the forest during the holiday period will strictly enforce the “No Fireworks” law and issue citations to violators which could result in a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail. In the event a fire is caused by fireworks, costs associated with suppressing the fire would also be applied.
“We want visitors to continue recreating on their public lands and to enjoy the holiday weekend”, said Ralph Bellah, Fire Prevention Specialist, “One small oversight with fire can have catastrophic results. This is the time to be extremely careful with fire.”
Obeying fire precautions will help us all enjoy the great outdoors.