South Fork Fire District sets fire ban

RIO GRANDE COUNTY — In cooperation with the Rio Grande County sheriff, Rio Grande County commissioners and the South Fork Fire District, effective on June 18 the South Fork Fire District will be placed under a Stage 1 fire restriction. The South Fork Fire District is any and all land west of Rio Grande County Road 18 and Highway 160 to the summit of Wolf Creek Pass and north on Highway 149 toward Creede.

Due to the extreme weather conditions and the close proximity to national forests, precautions are being taken to reduce the risk of potentially large fires like those in the Four Corners region.

Stage 1 restriction means no open burning including NO:

1. Fires, campfires or stove fires including but not limited to, charcoal grills, hibachis and coal or wood burning stoves. (Exceptions are campfires in developed campgrounds or picnic grounds within provided, manufactured fire grates and grills; petroleum fueled stoves or lanterns that use gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel; fully enclosed sheepherder type stove with a 1/4-inch spark arrester type screen.)

2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building or in a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

3. Chainsaws MUST have attached a USDA Forest Service or SAE approved arrestor. Operators MUST have in their possession a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A and a round-pointed shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches.

4. Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame except in a cleared area of at least 10 feet in diameter and MUST be in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A.

5. Explosives, including fireworks, tracer bullets and exploding targets.

This restriction will be in place until further notice.