The Teller County Sheriff’s Office is implementing stage III fire restrictions, which would ban all burning in the county right before the Fourth of July.
The announcement comes as the sheriff’s office said seven homes were lost in the Chateau Fire burning northwest of Cripple Creek. That fire has burned more than 1,300 acres and is 15 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon.
State fire agencies in Colorado define stage III restrictions differently than Teller County’s restrictions. Stage III restrictions normally close access to all public lands and close roads along with prohibiting all open burning and operation of machines that can produce a spark.
Those restrictions are issued when "the social, economic, and political impacts of implementing a closure at this point are outweighed by the benefits associated with virtually eliminating the potential for human-caused fire starts."
In Teller County, access to public lands will still be allowed, but the strict rules about open burning and operation of machinery that could start a fire will be implemented.
Teller County’s resolution bans the following:
- Open burning on public and private lands (campfires, fire pits, etc.)
- Use of gas and charcoal grills, and gas lanterns
- Outdoor smoking
- Discharging firearms
- Use of some internal combustion engines without a spark arrester (chainsaws, lawnmowers, generators, all terrain vehicles)
- Use of explosives including fireworks
- Parking vehicles in grassy areas
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers at Mueller State Park will be enforcing the Stage III restrictions as will officers at Dome Rock, Rosemont Reservoir and Skaguay Reservoir, which are all state wildlife areas in unincorporated areas of Teller County. No one will be asked to leave state parks and wildlife areas and people will still be allowed to enter the park.
We reached out to the U.S. Forest Service, and rangers told News 5 that National Forests are still under stage II restrictions and will remain under those restrictions. However, Teller County authorities will enforce their stage III restrictions on national land, but no one will be asked to leave U.S. forests in Teller County.
The City of Woodland Park also issued an emergency fire ban of its own Tuesday, following the county’s resolution.
If you violate fire restrictions of any kind, you can face a Class B misdemeanor, a maximum fine of $5000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or a six-month prison sentence or both.
The resolution from Teller County to implement Stage III fire restrictions is listed below: