April 8, 2020
Boulder County enacts Level 1 Fire Restrictions
Restrictions apply to the unincorporated mountain areas of Boulder County and are being enacted while firefighting and law enforcement resources are limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Updated April 9, 2020:
Boulder County has updated and published a revised resolution (2020-37) to align its Level 1 fire restrictions with those enacted by surrounding communities and public land managers in western Boulder County. The changes are mostly technical in nature, but a few clarifications are worth pointing out:
- Recreational shooting is not allowed on public lands in the areas covered under the fire restrictions (see map). Hunting with a valid hunting license, following current hunting rules and regulations, is still allowed.
- To align with what the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has enacted, there are no open fires allowed in undeveloped or developed (hosted) campsites
- Level 1 Restrictions do not apply to private property. This is in alignment with USFS restrictions and applies to lessees to USFS property.
The article has been updated below to include these changes.
Boulder County, Colo. (April 8, 2020) – The County Commissioners have enacted Level 1 Fire Restrictions for the unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.
While current weather and fire conditions do not meet the state-authorized levels for law enforcement agencies to enact local fire restrictions, the Boulder County Commissioners do have the authority to implement these fire restrictions under the county's declaration of a local disaster emergency for unincorporated Boulder County (enacted March 14, 2020).
“With firefighting and law enforcement resources stretched thin due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boulder County Commissioners and the Boulder County Sheriff are concerned that adding the risk of increased wildfire danger to the current public stress load is more than our community should have to endure,” said Board of County Commissioners Chair Deb Gardner. “We are taking this proactive measure in order to promote and protect the public health, safety, and welfare of our residents during this already challenging time."
The fire restrictions include the mountain areas of unincorporated Boulder County as follows:
- West of CO Highway 93 (CO-93), from its intersection with the southern boundary of Boulder County until, and including, its intersection with CO Highway 119 (CO-119);
- West of Broadway Avenue in the City of Boulder, from its intersection with CO-119 until, and including, its intersection with US Highway 36 (US-36);
- West of US-36, from its intersection with Broadway Avenue until its intersection with the northern boundary of Boulder County;
- West of the western boundary of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space until, and including, US-36; and;
- All of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space property.
A map depicting the areas of Boulder County affected by the fire ban is shown below.
The fire ban PROHIBITS (on public lands only):
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using an open fire, campfire or stove fire (including charcoal barbecues and grills) on public land; This includes fire pits in developed campsites.
- Use of all personal fireworks;
- Shooting or discharging firearms for recreational purposes, except for hunting with a valid and current hunting license on public land;
- 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;
- Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE-approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order. A chemical, pressurized fire-extinguisher must be kept with the operator, and at least one round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches must be readily available for use;
- Welding or operating an acetylene or other open-flame torch, except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter, and with a chemical, pressurized fire-extinguisher immediately available for use; and
- Using an explosive.
The fire ban ALLOWS:
- Any of the activities listed above are allowed on private lands;
- The use of portable stoves; lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel; or a fully enclosed (sheepherder-type) stove with a 1/4" spark arrester-type screen.
Anyone found in violation of the fire ban may be convicted of a class two petty offense, and may be subject to up to a $1,000 fine, in addition to any possible civil penalties. Higher fines may be imposed for subsequent offenses.
These fire restrictions are for unincorporated Boulder County. If you live within, or are visiting an incorporated municipality, please check with that city or town directly to see what, if any, fire restrictions they may have in place.
For current fire, shooting and developed recreation site restrictions and seasonal closures for United States Forest Service properties, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/alerts-notices/?cid=fseprd533597.