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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Fire restrictions lifted for county, tribal lands

By Randi Pierce

Staff Writer

Due to recent rains, additional area agencies lifted fire restrictions this week.

On Monday, Archuleta County Sheriff Rich Valdez announced via letter that fire restrictions in Archuleta County would be lifted, effective immediately.

The letter asks people to continue to follow safe burning practices and includes a reminder that all open burning in Archuleta County requires a permit.

Permits can be purchased from the Pagosa Fire Protection District at 191 N. Pagosa Blvd.

On Tuesday, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe announced that Stage 1 restrictions would be rescinded for all trust lands throughout the Southern Ute Indian Reservation as of 6 a.m. on Wednesday, July 28.

The press release announcing the move cites recent rains and moderating fuel conditions.

“Since March, Southern Ute Agency Fire Management has responded to over 50 fires on the reservation with the largest being the 10-acre Iron Springs fire,” the press release explains. “On June 18, a dry lightening [sic] storm produced 24 fires on the reservation which shattered the previous record of 10 fires in one day. Firefighters were able to keep all the fires under 10 acres with no injuries or accidents.”

Last week, fire restrictions were lifted for the San Juan National Forest.

According to Rebecca Robbins, acting public affairs officer for the San Juan National Forest, as of Tuesday, there had been five lightning-caused fires over the last week in the Pagosa Ranger District.

All, she notes in an email, were single-tree fires no larger than a tenth of an acre, and each received rain and is now out.

As of Tuesday, Bureau of Land Management-administered public lands within the boundaries of Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, and San Miguel counties (which fall under the Tres Rios Field Office) remained under Stage 1 restrictions.

For more information on those restrictions, visit: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/docs/2021-06/TRFO%20Stage%201%20Order%20June%2017%202021_Final.pdf.


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