Southwest District Fire Management Unit

Logo for the Southwest Fire Management Unit

Fire management involves an interagency approach among federal, state, and local partners. BLM-managed lands in Colorado are divided into four interagency fire management units – the Southwest District Fire Management Unit based in Montrose provides fire and fuels management support for the Gunnison, Tres Rios (including Canyons of the Ancients NM), and Uncompahgre (including Gunnison Gorge NCA) field offices.





Current Fire Restrictions & Notices


No fire restrictions at this time.

January 1, 2024: Fire Prevention Order COS01-24-01 - Enforces a designation as day use only, including a prohibition on camping and campfires, for BLM lands in the Durango Special Recreation Management Area, which includes the Grandview, Animas City Mountain, and Skyline areas in Tres Rios Field Office.


No fire restrictions at this time.


No fire restrictions at this time.

October 2023: Little Mesa Fire - 100% contained wildfire in Dominguez-Escalante NCA about 15 miles west south-west of Delta, CO; YouTube: Little Mesa Fire - Explains the decision to use a confine and contain strategy to fight wildfire.

Map showing location of Little Mesa Fire burning in Dominguez-Escalante NCA.
Map showing location of the 2023 Little Mesa Fire in Dominguez-Escalante NCA.

Fire Restriction Stages

All fire restrictions are in force until an order is posted to rescind them. Please contact individual field offices for more information.

Under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:

  • Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds (i.e. a metal, in-ground containment structure -- fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable).
  • No fires of any type, including charcoal, outside of developed areas.
  • No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or in a barren area free of vegetation.
  • No use of explosive materials, including explosive targets.
  • No welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame, except from an area that has been cleared of vegetation.
  • No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order.

Under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions, the following activities are prohibited:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood burning stove or sheepherders stove, including in developed camping and picnic grounds. Devices using pressurized liquid or gas are exempted.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer, building, or tent.
  • Using an explosive requiring fuse or blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets and tracers or incendiary ammunition.
  • Operating or using any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order meeting either:
    • (a) Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Standard 5100-1a; or
    • (b) Appropriate Society of automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practice J335(b) and J350(a). 36 CFR 261.52(j)
  • Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arrestor, and without a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and a round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches. The extinguisher will be with the equipment operator.  The shovel may be kept with fueling supplies but readily available for use.
  • Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame (except with a current permit, contract or letter of authorization).
Little Mesa Fire burns in Dominguez-Escalante NCA. Photo Credit: Ian Muirhead
Little Mesa Fire burns in Dominguez-Escalante NCA (August 2023). Photo Credit: Ian Muirhead
Conducting pile burns under the right conditions reduces the risk of large wildfires in the BLM Colorado Southwest District.