Stage 1 fire restrictions to begin July 15 in Rio Blanco County

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After multiple wildland fires ignited early this week, Rio Blanco County Sheriff Anthony Mazzola issued an order Tuesday enacting stage 1 fire restrictions beginning July 15 and effective until rescinded for Bureau of Land Management-administered lands, unincorporated and private lands in the county.

The order follows White River National Forest’s stage 1 fire ban enacted last week.

In stage 1 fire restrictions, the following activities are prohibited:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except within agency-provided fire grates at developed recreation sites. Devices using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel are permitted.
  2. Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
  3. Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrestor properly installed and working, a chemical fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces capacity by weight, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.
  4. Using a welder, either arc or gas, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame, except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter with a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces capacity.
  5. Using exploding targets.

Exemptions to the ban include persons with a written permit specifically authorizing the activity, persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice; and organized rescue or firefighting forces in the performance of an official duty.

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