MONTROSE, Colo. – Effective Thursday, June 7, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service will institute “Stage One Fire Restrictions” on the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) and Bureau of Land Management lands within Delta, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties. These restrictions also include GMUG National Forest System lands within Mesa, Garfield, and San Juan counties.
“Last week, county, state and federal officials met to determine a course of action in terms of signing orders to begin fire restrictions within these areas,” said Lori Armstrong, BLM southwest district manager. “Our fuel moisture conditions are at levels that cause all of the agencies concern for potential fire starts and spread.”
Stage one fire restrictions on BLM and USFS lands prohibit : “building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except a fire within a permanent constructed fire grate in a developed campground; Smoking except within 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; and operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order is also prohibited.” Campers are permitted to use, “petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices that meet the fire underwriters’ specifications for safety.”
The use of fireworks, flares or other incendiary devices is always prohibited on federal lands.
“We encourage the public to enjoy their time on the national forest and BLM lands. Before leaving home, we suggest people become aware of restrictions that are in place for their safety and to prevent wildfires, ” said Sherry Hazelhurst, Acting Forest Supervisor.
The agencies continuously monitor conditions and will modify the restrictions as needed. Federal agencies use a three-stage process to limit human activities that could lead to wildfires. Stage one is addressed above. Stage two includes all stage one restrictions plus prohibits welding, the use of chainsaws as well as building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire or stove fire. Stage three includes stage 1 and 2 restrictions and prohibits all other burning.
For more information, contact your local BLM or Forest Service Office or reference information on these websites:
• GMUG National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/gmug;
• BLM Uncompahgre Field Office: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/ufo.html
• BLM Gunnison Field Office: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gfo.html
• BLM Grand Junction Field Office: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo.html
To determine fire restrictions beyond federally-managed lands go to the following websites:
• Delta County - http://deltacounty.com/index.aspx
• Montrose County - http://www.co.montrose.co.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=257
• Ouray County - http://ouraycountyco.gov
• San Miguel County- http://www.sanmiguelcounty.org
• Mesa County-http://sheriff.mesacounty.us/oem/
• Gunnison County- http://www.gunnisoncounty.org/commissioners_pdf/resolutions/2012/Resolution_2012-14.PDF
• Sauguache County- http://crestoneeagle.com/2011/06/17/a-fireban-was-issued-by-saguache-county-as-of-june-15-it-states/
• Hinsdale County-http://www.hinsdalecountysheriff.com/
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.