Thursday, August 13, 2020

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions begin August 14, 2020

MESA COUNTY, Colo - The Mesa County Sheriff, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Fire Chiefs representing municipalities, and fire protection districts of Mesa County are implementing Stage 2 Fire Restrictions effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 14th, 2020. This order applies to all of Mesa County, including the Colorado National Monument, BLM administered public lands with the EXCEPTION of land managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

“We’ve monitored our severe and extreme drought conditions all summer. We have reached the point where additional fire restrictions are warranted in the interest of safety,” said Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis. “When our community works together to exercise caution during high fire danger conditions, we can significantly reduce human-caused fires.”

Fire restrictions are implemented based on specific criteria to include the moisture content of vegetation, weather outlooks, human risk factors, and firefighting resource availability. Hot, dry, windy conditions combined with dry fuels have created dangerous fire conditions with no weather relief in sight. The National Weather Service is forecasting continued above-average temperatures and below-normal precipitation.

“We have the benefit of being able to observe fire behavior, rather than just using modeling. Right now, extreme fire behavior has become the norm driven by critically dry fuel conditions. Any new starts have the potential to exhibit extreme fire behavior as well. That’s why it’s paramount to work together to prevent any more fires,” said Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Fire Behavior Analyst Timothy Foley.

Recently, our region has had several significant fires that have forced people from their homes and used a considerable amount of fire suppression resources. Two of those fires were human-caused, the Ruby Lee Fire and the MM 45 Fire.

“We cannot afford to have fires start in these conditions, and we need everyone to do their part to make sure we are following Stage 2 guidance for how to prevent fires,” said Grand Junction Fire Chief Ken Watkins.

Our community is currently impacted by the Pine Gulch Fire, which has burned nearly 70,000 acres and affected our air quality with smoke. With relative humidity so low and gusty erratic winds, fire suppression efforts become a challenge.

“We have extremely hot and dry conditions and the fire danger is high right now. We ask the public to please follow these restrictions and be cautious while out on public lands." Grand Junction Field Manager Greg Wolfgang.

What Stage 2 Fire Restrictions Mean

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions prohibit the use of anything that produces an open flame that is not liquid-fueled or gas-fueled on both public land and private residences. The general rule of thumb is if the fire can be “turned off,” rather than “put out,” it is allowed.

  • Parking or driving a motor vehicle off established roads, motorized trails, or established parking areas unless the parking area has no vegetation within 10 feet of the vehicle.
  • Building, maintaining, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood-burning stove, sheepherder’s stove, tiki torches, fire pits, and chimineas including in developed picnic, camping areas, and at private residences (outdoors).
  • The use of ANY fireworks.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
  • Any unpermitted use of fire to burn debris or vegetation.
  • Shooting tracer rounds or explosive type targets or the use of explosives including fuses, blasting caps, and rockets.
  • Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame EXCEPT in cleared areas of at least 10 ft in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher. Activity Prohibited on Federal Land.
  • Operating an internal combustion engine such as a chainsaw, generator or ATV, without a spark arresting device installed and working properly. Chainsaws also have to be operated with a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and a shovel nearby.

  • Only devices that are liquid-fueled or gas-fueled are permitted. Gas grills, stoves or lanterns with shut-off valves may be used at least three feet away from flammable materials such as dry vegetation.
  • Gas fire pits are allowed under a fire ban as the fire can be “turned off” rather than “put out.”
  • Agricultural burns only with a SHERIFF’S OFFICE ISSUED PERMIT. Click here for an application.
  • Any indoor fireplaces or indoor wood burning stoves used for heat. Please make sure there is a spark arrestor in working order.   

View Interactive Fire Restrictions Map at