Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor invited Fire Chiefs throughout Pueblo County to the Emergency Services Center this afternoon to address fire concerns as July 4th approaches. The group discussed how fire bans create an imposition on the residents of Pueblo County but let data that incorporates weather patterns, forecasts, fire fuel, as well as mutual aid potential be the deciding factor. After reviewing that data, the group determined there is no need for a Stage I Fire Restriction in Pueblo County at this time. This decision means Pueblo County residents outside the city limits of Pueblo can continue to burn yard debris and light open fires for warming or during recreation. In addition, outdoor smoking, use of grills, fireworks, camp fires, and outdoor use of welding equipment will remain permissible activities for everyone in the county (fireworks are not permitted in national forests or state parks).
The chiefs agreed there remains a need to constantly monitor weather conditions, the moisture levels of the brush and grass, the availability of fire resources in our communities and the number of human caused fires. Changes in these factors may later warrant a move to fire restrictions. For the past two summers, fire bans have limited several favorite summertime activities. The chiefs were relieved to not be facing the same conditions as years past but urge the community to use caution with open flames.
Diligence is the key to fire safety. Fire Officials offer these tips:
• Adhere to any Red Flag Warnings that are issued.
•Do NOT throw lit cigarettes into the trash or out of a car window. Extinguish them completely with water.
• Make sure that ANY open flame is closely monitored. Do NOT allow it to smolder, extinguish it completely with water and check back on it to make sure it hasn’t reignited, even days later.
• Any yard debris burns must be reported to the Pueblo County Burn line 583-BURN. In addition, residents in Pueblo West, Rural, Rye, and West Park Fire Protection Districts must get a permit prior to burning.
• Anytime you are working with an open flame, welding, recreational fires, barrel burns, etc. have a hose and a cellular phone immediately available in case the flames get away from you.
•Do not use grills of any type when high winds are present.
City of Pueblo Fire Chief, Dale Villers represented the City of Pueblo at the meeting. “Restrictions can be added or increased with little notice. Everyone needs to be careful of open burning, BBQ’s, and fire related activities during this time of year. The community is an important partner when it comes to reducing the risk of fire, we want to keep restrictions to a minimum and we count on our residents to do their part.”
Sheriff Taylor was pleased with the discussion. “We know everyone thinks of these restrictions as a fireworks ban but that isn’t what we were deciding” said Taylor, “We worked to identify the potential for wild land fire and what precautions we wanted the citizens to follow to help minimize the risk. We are glad primarily the risk is much lower than in years past and of course, we are happy families can celebrate America’s Birthday in a traditional way.”