Wednesday, July 8, 2015

BLM: Fire Restrictions Begin Friday In McInnis Canyons

Fire Restrictions begin Friday in McInnis Canyons NCA Colorado River Corridor

July 8, 2015

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Fire restrictions will begin Friday in portions of the Bureau of Land Management McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area in western Colorado. Fire restrictions will affect campers floating the Colorado River between the Loma boat ramp and the Utah border. Fires are currently restricted to fire pans for this stretch of river. Beginning Friday, the use of fires along the Colorado River in McInnis Canyons NCA will be unlawful. Cooking stoves equipped with an on-off switch remain legal.

“We’re concerned about the inherent dry nature of this area as we approach a time when a lot of fuels are cured and available to burn and spread quickly,” said Andy Windsor, acting McInnis Canyons NCA manager. Light fuels for wildfires, such as cured grasses, can dry quickly following rain and readily carry fire.

According to Windsor, the remoteness of this area makes swift response difficult and small fires can quickly grow and damage years of work. “We have a huge investment in riparian restoration along the river that can quickly be destroyed by fire. Cottonwood galleries are valued by campers for shade, which is very limited in that hot, dry landscape.”

Camping in the area covered by the fire restrictions is by permit only. Use of fire beginning 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 10, is a violation of fire restrictions and will result in penalties for violation of permit rules. Individuals responsible for wildfire can be held responsible for damages. Violation of fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 months or both.

This restriction does not apply to other public lands in northwestern Colorado. Fire officials urge extreme caution with any burning in these areas as fuels continue to dry.