by Pam Zubeck
As the dry spell continues Sheriff Terry Maketa is following in the city's footsteps by imposing fire restrictions in the unincorporated areas of El Paso County.
Stage I fire restrictions are immediate and prohibit:
1. Open burning, except fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds; charcoal grills and wood burning stoves at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials.
2. The sale or use of fireworks.
3. Outdoor smoking except within 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.
These restrictions don't include fires contained within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, indoor fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, outdoor charcoal grills and wood-burning stoves, providing they are at private residences and in an area cleared of all flammable materials including dry vegetation.
Maketa's press release says he may step up fire safety if conditions don't improve, imposing the second stage of restrictions, which would ban all open burning as defined in Stage I, the sale or use of fireworks and outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
Stage I violations carry fines of up to $600, while Stage II violations bring fines of up to $1,000.
Check out a copy of Open Fire Ban Ordinance.