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July 18, 2016

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Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500

Boulder County fire restrictions amended

The county-wide fire ban instituted on July 9th has been amended to only ban open-burning in the mountains.

Boulder County, Colo. - Earlier this evening Sheriff Joe Pelle amended the fire ban that was implemented in the wake of the Cold Springs Fire on Saturday, July 9th. The fire ban has been amended to only ban open-burning in the mountainous areas of Boulder County. For purposes of the fire ban, the mountain area is defined as all unincorporated areas west of Highway 93 (South Foothills Highway), Broadway in the City of Boulder, Highway 36 (North Foothills Highway), and Rabbit Mountain Open Space (including the entirety of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space property). A map illustrating the portions of Boulder County effected by the amended fire ban is attached below.

State statutes authorize counties to impose a fire ban “to a degree and in a manner that the Board of County Commissioners deems necessary to reduce the danger of wildfires within those portions of the unincorporated areas of the county where the danger of forest or grass fires is found to be high based on competent evidence.”

In 2006, Boulder County passed a resolution authorizing the Board of County Commissioners or the Sheriff of Boulder County to declare an open fire ban when the threat of forest or grass fires is high. The current fire conditions in Boulder County have reached historical records. The live trees, shrubs and grasses have become extremely dry due to the ongoing warm and dry weather conditions. This combination of dried fuels and no rain has created an immediate threat where any uncontrolled fire ignition will rapidly grow and spread. This fire ban has been implemented to reduce the potential for a human caused large wildfire.

This amended fire ban PROHIBITS:

1) Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire on private and public lands in the mountain areas. This includes charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood burning stoves and sheepherder’s stoves and includes use in developed camping and picnic grounds. EXCEPTIONS: Devices using pressurized liquid or gas (stoves, grills or lanterns) that include shut-off valves are permitted when used in an area at least three feet or more from flammable material such as grasses or pine needles.

2) Smoking. EXCEPTIONS: Within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.

3) Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.

4) Operating or using any internal combustion engine (e.g. chainsaw, generator, ATV) 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).

5) Operating a chainsaw without an approved spark arresting device as described in Prohibition #4, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (8 oz. capacity by weight or larger and kept with the operator), and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.

6) Using an explosive. This includes but is not limited to fuses or blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets, and tracers or incendiary ammunition.

7) Possessing or using a motor vehicle off established roads, motorized trails or established parking areas, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the vehicle in the mountain area of Boulder County.

The fire ban does not affect open fires within incorporated cities and towns; however, citizens must comply with applicable ordinances and regulations in their respective cities and towns.

The fire ban will be in effect until the sheriff finds that the hazardous conditions have subsided.

Anyone found in violation of the fire ban may be convicted of a class 2 petty offense and may be subject to a $500 fine, in addition to any possible civil penalties. Higher fines may be imposed for subsequent offenses.

For current fire restrictions in Eldorado Canyon State Park, visit:

For current information about United States Forest Service property, visit:

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/s/ Jay C. Stalnacker

Fire Management Officer