By Chris Mannara
On May 20 Archuleta County enacted Stage 1 fire restrictions, and within those restrictions, personal fireworks “of any kind” are prohibited.
“Personal fireworks are prohibited under the Stage 1 fire ban that we’re in. We’ll be out and about on routine patrol and they’ll be enforcing that, for sure,” Archuleta County Sheriff Rich Valdez said in an interview on Wednesday.
Archuleta County Undersheriff Derek Woodman noted in an interview Wednesday that Archuleta County’s fire ordinance is where the prohibition of personal fireworks is.
“Anytime a fire ban is put in place, whether it’s a one, two or three, fireworks are always prohibited under that ordinance,” Woodman said.
The ordinance also outlines that, regardless of location, open burning, burn barrels, agricultural burning and the use of explosive materials are also prohibited.
Outside of developed areas, the fire restrictions advise citizens to contact their local ranger district, the Bureau of Land Management or the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for the latest restrictions.
Fire danger across the region is rated as extreme. Fire restrictions are also in place on the San Juan National Forest, for tribal lands and in neighboring areas.
In developed areas within unincorporated Archuleta County, charcoal fires in suitable containers, gas grills for barbecues at residences, camp stoves, grills or lights fueled by bottled gas, and fires in permanent fire pits are allowed.
Fire pits must have a 4-foot clearance from combustible materials.
Fires must be attended, and citizens should have firefighting tools and five gallons of water available.
Smoking is limited to vehicles, buildings, developed recreational areas or 3-foot wide areas that are clear of vegetation.
Internal combustion engines must have spark arrestors, and cutting and welding operations must have fire hand tools, 40 pounds’ worth of fire extinguishers or a pressurized water supply on hand, as well as a fire watch standing by.
Flaring for production wells is allowed, but citizens must contact dispatch, and compliance with the Rules for Fire Prevention and Protection must be met.
The county’s fire restrictions do not apply to the Town of Pagosa Springs unless town council were to adopt the same restrictions, Pagosa Springs Police Department Chief William Rockensock explained in an interview Wednesday.
“We do have fireworks restrictions. We have always had fireworks restrictions. They are completely prohibited in the town, and if we catch you with them, you will receive a summons to appear in court,” Rockensock said.