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Due to the increased risk of fire, the Routt County Sheriff’s Office will increase enforcement of Stage 2 fire restrictions to keep the community safe. Violators of restrictions may be charged with a Class 4 felony.
According to the U.S. Forest Service in a press release on Monday, October 19th, “Unprecedented wildfire activity and unsafe Forest conditions have prompted an inter-agency law enforcement effort to address fire restriction violations across multiple counties in northwest Colorado. There will be a coordinated effort in the coming days and weeks between the USDA Forest Service - Routt and Arapaho National Forests; Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, and Routt counties; and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to aggressively enforce Stage 2 fire restrictions. The appropriate level of fire restrictions will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change, and if necessary, the next step would be implementing Stage 3 restrictions, which would temporarily close all National Forest System lands to public activity.”
In order to mitigate the risk of going to the next stage of fire restrictions, Routt County asks all residents and visitors to follow the State 2 restrictions which include:
Big-game hunting seasons are underway, and hunters are reminded that all restrictions apply to all visitors and that all fires, including small warming fires are not allowed during Stage 2 fire restrictions.
Mo DeMorat, Routt County Emergency Operations Director said, “The severity of wildfires throughout the West, including Colorado, is at unprecedented levels. The largest fire in Colorado history was recorded with the Pine Gulch Fire earlier this summer and soon after with the Cameron Peak Fire. The Middle Fork Fire in Routt County is still an active fire encompassing over 20,000 acres with minimal containment and just under 150 firefighters still working to suppress this fire and keep the surrounding communities safe.”
Sheriff Garret Wiggins added, “Local resources and federal and state partners are heavily engaged in firefighting throughout the region and resource availability is limited. Several new fires started over the weekend in the Northwest Region of Colorado, in which numerous homes were destroyed by fire. These fires were determined to be initiated by human activity. It is imperative that residents and guests abide by the Stage 2 fire restrictions to mitigate potential loss of life and property due to wildfires. We will be monitoring more to protect the community. In discussion with the local District Attorney’s office, violators may be charged with a Class 4 felony.”
The multi-agency task force has indicated that should the Stage 2 fire restrictions be ineffective then the next step is to implement Stage 3 fire restrictions, which is the closure of federal and state lands to all use.
Individuals may provide a written request for exemptions to the current Stage 2 fire restrictions to the appropriate Fire Protection District or to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office. Please call your Fire Protection District Chief or the Routt County Office of Emergency Management at (970) 870-5551. Thank you for your continued efforts in supporting our fire prevention efforts to protect our community. We’re all in this together!