UPDATE: Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Fountain, county issue fire bans ... in March


Fountain now has Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in place:


——- LAST UPDATE, 1:08 P.M., MARCH 17 ——-
The city of Colorado Springs issued its own ban:


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Based upon increased fire activity, very high fire danger, current fire weather conditions and consultation and coordination of federal, state and local fire agencies, it is determined that Burn Restrictions are warranted in the City of Colorado Springs.

Pursuant of the 2009 International Fire Code the Fire Marshal has implemented Burn Restrictions for the City of Colorado Springs that shall prohibit the following activities:

1. Recreational fires are not allowed. A recreational fire is an outdoor fire for cooking, warmth, religious, or other special purposes that is not contained in a permanent fixture (incinerator, manufactured outdoor fireplace or pit, BBQ grill).

2. Bonfires are not allowed.

3. No smoking in any city parks/open spaces while burn restrictions are in place.

4. Blasting, welding, and torches by permit only.

5. Model rockets by permit only.

6. Open or prescribed burning is not allowed (ditch burning, fires for silviculture, range or wildfire management).

Burn Restriction and Burn Ban Penalties - Person(s) failing to comply with a Burn Restriction or Burn Ban shall be punished in accordance with the Code of the City of Colorado Springs as amended (1.1.201). A careless fire that threatens or damages property is fourth degree arson and shall be prosecuted as such. For more information on burn restriction: https://csfd.coloradosprings.gov/sites/csfd.coloradosprings.gov/files/outdoor_burning14jul16.pdf

The Burn Restrictions shall take effect immediately upon the issuance of this order and shall remain in effect until such time the restrictions are modified.

Residents are encouraged to “Share the Responsibility” and reduce their wildfire risk by implementing wildfire mitigation concepts into their landscaping. https://csfd.coloradosprings.gov/page/wildfire-mitigation
——- FIRST UPDATE, TODAY, 10:34 A.M. ——-
El Paso County has also implemented Stage 1 Burn Restrictions.

Here are the details:

Sheriff's Office Implementing Stage 1 Burn Restrictions

March 16, 2017
Pursuant to the authority vested in the Deputy Fire Warden through the Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, by El Paso County Ordinance No. 15-001, and C.R.S. § 30-10-512, he El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, hereby issues this Order pertaining to the declaration of Stage 1 Burn Restrictions.

Based upon monitoring of fire danger weather conditions, increased fire activity in the area, the fire danger class in the very high and/or extreme levels and through consultation and coordination of federal, state and local fire agencies, it is determined that implementation of Stage 1 Burn Restrictions are warranted in El Paso County.

These Restrictions shall prohibit the following activities:

1. Open fire and open burning except fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates, charcoal grills and wood burning stoves in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds, or 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 of and cleared of all flammable materials.

The Stage 1 Restrictions shall take effect immediately upon the issuance of this Order and shall remain in effect until such time as the restrictions are modified pursuant to El Paso County Ordinance No. 15-001.

The full text of Ordinance No. 15-001 can be found at http://car.elpasoco.com/clerktotheboard/Documents/15-001%20Open%20Burnin...
Waldo Canyon came very close to Manitou Springs. - PHOTO BY CSFD, COURTESY NIST
  • Waldo Canyon came very close to Manitou Springs.

If you lived in Manitou Springs during the Waldo Canyon Fire, then you know how fresh the memories of that time feel.

Back in the summer of 2012, Waldo was named the most destructive fire in Colorado history (our own Black Forest Fire a year later, would surpass it). For Manitou, Waldo was a close call. The town's residents were evacuated the first night of the fire, as the blaze advanced down Williams Canyon.

Then, mercifully, the wind shot the fire the other way. Manitou was spared. The same couldn't be said for Mountain Shadows, where homes were left in ruins and two people lost their lives.

If you're a Manitoid that lived through Waldo, then you know how powerless we are to stop a raging wildfire. And you've probably been observing this balmy March weather with a measure of caution.  Apparently, so has Manitou's fire chief, John Forsett.

Yesterday, Forsett ordered a fire ban. That's right. A fire ban in March. And this isn't just for campfires — it also bans smoking outside.

While inconvenient, the hope here is that a ban can prevent the next Waldo. Here's what the chief had to say:

Madam Mayor and Members of City Council,

Effective immediately, I am ordering the following Fire Restrictions for the City of Manitou Springs:

1. Open Burning Ban, defined as the prohibited use of any outside fire, including camp fires and warming fires.

This current ban excludes fires in permanently constructed fire rings within the city’s RV and Camping Parks; and charcoal grills, and wood burning fire places, (chiminia) or fire pits with proper fitting screen covers and with a minimum of 15’ separation from structures or other combustible material at private residences. None of these exclusions permit a total fuel area greater than 3 feet in diameter, and all must have a flame height of less than 2 feet.

2. Outdoor Smoking Ban, defined as the prohibited use of any tobacco product or similar material in cigarettes, cigars, or pipes outdoors. This excludes smoking in enclosed buildings or structures, and along Manitou Avenue. Discarding of a lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe tobacco products is strictly prohibited.

These restrictions do not apply to gas-fueled grills used out-of-doors, or to fires within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves. Additionally, compliant fireplaces and wood-burning stoves within private residences are not included in the ban.

Current Wildland Fire predictive services for our area indicate continuing warm, dry and breezy conditions. I have attached the Predictive Services Fire Weather/Danger Update from March 13th for your reference, and you can monitor these outlooks at;
http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/predictive/outl... .

While we can only control our city limits, it is my hope that these restrictions will enhance awareness of our citizens and visitors, and the message will carry far outside of our boundaries. It is also my hope that El Paso County Sheriff’s Office will also soon imposed fire restrictions for all areas of unincorporated El Paso County in some similar manner. Should the county impose a fire ban while this ban is in place, this ban may be adjusted to allow for consistency in management and compliance.

If weather patterns change the local outlook significantly one way or the other, Fire Restrictions will be adjusted accordingly.

Respectfully Submitted,

John K. Forsett, Fire Chief, City of Manitou Springs

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