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Parks & wildlife officials educate visitors on fire danger

Posted: 10:29 PM, May 25, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-26 00:29:36-04

The holiday guests have already arrived, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials aren’t wasting time on educating them on the fire danger gripping Colorado.

For Ethan Birnberg and his family, there’s a lot to love in Mueller State Park. The Boulder residents will enjoy one of the park’s 132 campsites, which are all booked for Memorial Day weekend.

"The hiking trails are fantastic. The views are beautiful. They just have great campgrounds here," Birnberg said. "They maintain the area really well, so we love it."

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Friday’s check-in at the campground featured an enhanced focus on a particular message: Being careful with campfires.

Senior Park Ranger Parrish Watson said it’s an imperative discussion as visitors finally make it to the park.

"So, if somebody’s going to have a campfire in the campsites this weekend, or in their picnic area, they’re going to need to have a bucket or container of water with them to make sure that they’re able to fully extinguish that when they’re done," Watson said.

Between the campsites and daily visitors, Mueller State Park will easily see more than a thousand guests everyday. That’s why the rangers stop every guest on the way in to alert them of the catastrophe possible with a spark in the wrong place.

"We always provide them with information both written and verbally," Watson said. "So, we try as hard as we can to make it not a surprise to our visitors what our expectations are."

Watson tells News 5 the message is well received, and for campers like the Birnbergs, it’s just second nature.

"We always make sure we have lots of water, and it’s next to the fire when we have it, and we’re always watching it," Birnberg said. "We don’t leave it unattended, and we make sure it’s completely doused out before we go to sleep."

Birnberg said it’s just the right thing to do for the state he calls home.

"One of the reasons why we live here is cause we think it’s so beautiful," Birnberg said. "The wildlife here and also all the views that we have here in Colorado Springs, but then up near Boulder, and so we want to take care of that. We don’t want to see anything negative happening."

Park rangers will also patrol throughout the night to talk with campers and ensure they’re following the rules.

Leaving a campfire unattended could result in a citation, if not worse, Watson said.