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December wildfire risk prompts Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Posted at 6:57 PM, Dec 06, 2022

EL PASO COUNTY — Multiple fire agencies in El Paso County are putting Stage 1 fire restrictions in place starting Wednesday December 7, 2022.

They want locals to know the wildfire risk is high even though it is December.

“During this time of year, a lot of people are thinking, Oh, the fire danger isn't as bad because it's not as hot out. Well, we also notoriously have very dry winters, we have high winds, we have some of our most destructive wildfires that occurred during the winter months,“ said Jeremy Van der Merwede with Manitou Springs Fire Department.

No-one can regulate the windy dry conditions. The actions of people however, make a big difference.

“There's always those areas that we have no control over or very little control over. So let's focus on the areas that we can control that we can get the help from the general public,” said Van der Merwede.

Stage 1 Restrictions in Manitou Springs are defined as follows:

  1. Open fires and open burning are prohibited, except for fires in permanently constructed fire rings within the city's RV and camping parks; private residential charcoal grills and smokers, wood burning fireplaces (chiminea), or fire pits, provided they have proper fitting screen covers and they are separated by at least 15-feet from structures or other combustible material.
  2. Outdoor smoking of any tobacco product or similar material in cigarettes, cigars, or pipes is prohibited, except that smoking is permitted within 15 feet of a city- approved disposal receptacle at city approved locations. Discarding lighted cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco products outdoors, other than in a city- approved receptacle is also 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.

Whenever the National Weather Service issues a red flag warning for this area, Stage 2 burn ban orders will be in effect. 

Stage 1 Restrictions in Colorado Springs are defined at this link and below:

These are allowed:

  • Outdoor Cooking
    • When using outdoor BBQ grills that are fueled by wood, pellets, or charcoal, and/or liquid propane gas, natural gas, or liquid fuel. you must have 10 feet of clearance from combustible structures, fences or vegetation however, there are no clearance requirements if you live in a single-family home or duplex. However, they may not be operated within 15 feet of a neighboring structure or combustible material, such as a tree, bush, or common fence.
  • Outdoor Fireplace
    • Any outdoor fire where the fire is contained in a portable or fixed fireplace/appliance. If you live in a single-family home or duplex, you may operate portable outdoor fireplaces with no minimum distance requirement from your structure or combustible material. However, they may not be operated within 15 feet of a neighboring structure or combustible material, such as a tree, bush, or common fence.
  • Outdoor Smoking
    • Outdoor smoking is allowed in designated areas only but it is not allowed in city-owned parks and open spaces.

These outdoor activities still require a permit:

  • Hot Work
    • Activities such as welding in a forested or grassy area may be allowed with a permit.
  • Fireworks
    • A permit for professional fireworks displays shall be obtained from the CSFD’s Division of the Fire Marshal.
  • Model Rocket Launch

These outdoor activities are not allowed:

  • Recreational Fires
    • Any outdoor fire or campfire where the fire is not contained in a portable or fixed fireplace or appliance. No permits will be issued for bonfires.
  • Small Engine Equipment
    • Operating small internal combustion engines such as chainsaws without a properly installed, maintained, and functioning spark arrestor.
  • Outdoor Smoking
    • No outdoor smoking in all city-owned parks and open spaces.

Outdoor activities that are prohibited at all times:

  • Open Burning
    • Open burning is never allowed by non-governmental entities in the city limits of Colorado Springs.
  • Burning Trash
    • The burning of trash, rubbish, yard clippings, or construction materials is never allowed in the city limits of Colorado Springs.
  • Fireworks
    • The use of recreational fireworks requiring ignition (has a fuse) such as sparklers, rockets, fountains, etc. is never allowed in the city limits of Colorado Springs.

Stage One fire restrictions in Fountain are the following:

Allowed with permit:

  • Outdoor blasting
  • Welding
  • Torches

Allowed:

  • Campfires in developed campgrounds/picnic grounds - Allowed in permanently constructed fire grates, charcoal grills, and wood burning stoves.
  • Outdoor cooking (private property)
    • Allowed if they are smaller than 3 feet in diameter and less than two feet high, that are kindled for the purpose of cooking food using only clean dry, untreated wood or charcoal, which are contained by fireplaces, fire pits, (free-standing and/or above ground), barbecues or other systems approved by the City of Fountain Fire Department.
  • Outdoor fire at residence (recreational fire pits)
    • Allowed if the fire is contained within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, indoor fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Allowed in permanently constructed fire grates, charcoal grills and wood burning stoves in outdoor areas cleared of all combustibles, using dry untreated wood and or charcoal.

Not Allowed:

  • Model rockets
  • Public prescribed burning/burn permits
  • Outdoor smoking
    • No smoking outside except in an enclosed building or vehicle, a developed recreational site, or while stopped in an area with at least a 3 feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable materials.
  • The sale or use of fireworks

Unincorporated El Paso County:

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