By Lorena Williams
Stage 1 fire restrictions on all National Forest System lands within the San Juan National Forest, including wilderness, will be rescinded effective today.
Recent rains over much of the forest have lessened, but not eliminated, the danger from fire, allowing restrictions to be lifted.
This means campfires are now allowed outside of established campgrounds and recreation sites. The public is asked to continue to be careful with fire and to obey any localized fire restrictions, such as the campfire ban for Chicago Basin in the Weminuche Wilderness Area.
“We appreciate the public’s cooperation during Stage 1 restrictions,” said Forest Supervisor Kara Chadwick, “and would like to remind everyone that the rain has not reached all parts of southwest Colorado equally.”
Fire danger is still very high, especially in the southern most parts of La Plata and Montezuma counties, and new lightning fires are being reported daily, even in higher elevations where more rain has fallen. The public is asked to continue to follow local restrictions whenever and wherever such regulations are still in effect.
It is also possible, Chadwick added, that the San Juan National Forest may return to restrictions if conditions dry out later in the summer and fall.
Visitors are encouraged to practice these principles of outdoor fire safety:
• Clear all flammable material within 3 feet of campfire rings.
• Make a fire only if you have a shovel and sufficient water to put it out.
• Never leave a fire unattended.
• Keep fires small and manageable.
• Extinguish fires completely. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave. Every campfire should be put dead out before leaving it.
To report a fire on federal lands, please contact the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at (970) 385-1324.
For information on current fire restrictions, conditions and recreation opportunities on the San Juan National Forest, call (970) 247-4874.
Though fire restrictions are being lifted on the San Juan National Forest, other entities continue to have restrictions in place. The public is encouraged to check restrictions prior to visiting an area.