Fire danger unusually high

Fourteen controlled burns have gotten out of control in the last week, three in the Rangely area and 11 in the Meeker area, according to Rio Blanco County undersheriff Mike Joos, including one at the High Lonesome Ranch east of Meeker. Meeker fire chief Steve Allen said the conditions are “surprising everyone in how quickly they get out of control,” and he asked for people to make sure to call in (878-9600) before burning to get condition updates and ask if there are “no burn” or “red flag” warnings in place.

Fourteen controlled burns have gotten out of control in the last week, three in the Rangely area and 11 in the Meeker area, according to Rio Blanco County undersheriff Mike Joos, including one at the High Lonesome Ranch east of Meeker. Meeker fire chief Steve Allen said the conditions are “surprising everyone in how quickly they get out of control,” and he asked for people to make sure to call in (878-9600) before burning to get condition updates and ask if there are “no burn” or “red flag” warnings in place.
RBC I Recent windy, dry conditions have already prompted Red Flag Warnings for northwest Colorado. Green-up, which helps to slow fires spread, has not yet occurred in most areas and dead grass and brush is ready to burn.
Landowners wishing to initiate ditch, debris and other outdoor burning activities are urged to check local weather conditions before striking the match. Warm, dry weather is returning to the area later this week.
Fire is a valuable and necessary tool which under the right conditions, can be safely used to promote plant regeneration, put nutrients back in the soil and remove vegetative debris. There are pre-burn actions you can take to burn safely and minimize the chance of fire escaping your control. These include:
– Contact your sheriff’s department and fire protection district before burning
– Know expected weather conditions for your burn day–winds can be erratic this time of year
– For up to day weather information visit http://www.crh.noaa.gov/gjt/
– Avoid windy and excessively warm and dry days – fire spreads quickly under these conditions
– Advise your neighbors of your plans to burn so they don’t panic or call in a false fire report
– Keep a shovel and plenty of water handy to extinguish the fire
– Never leave a fire unattended even for a few minutes
– Dig a fire line or break if there’s a chance the fire may not stop where you want
– Keep your cell phone with you to report an escaped fire if cell coverage is available
– Make sure your fire is dead out before leaving the area