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Custer County in Stage 1 fire restrictions due to high winds and lack of moisture

Moving the sand dunes:
A fierce windstorm last Monday coated the skies above the Valley in a brown cloud of swirling brown dust, complexly obscuring the Sangre de Cristos. The County is now in a Stage One fire ban.
– Tribune photo by Jordan Hedberg

Beginning on April 4, Custer County will initiate Stage 1. After discussions with the Wet Mountain Fire Protection District Chief and the Wetmore Fire Chief, Sheriff Rich Smith has determined that with the lack of significant precipitation this week, combined with the recent winds drying fire fuels, there is a significant risk of a wildland fire event in Custer County. However, there are no restrictions on USFS and BLM public lands.

Stage 1 fire restrictions prohibit the following activities:

• Open burning, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire, charcoal grills, pellet grills, and wood or coal burning stoves or fireplaces in undeveloped areas. Areas cleared of all flammable materials and those within permanently constructed fire grates or developed campgrounds and picnic grounds are excepted.

• Campfires and gas fire pits contained in constructed permanent fire pits or fire grates within a developed recreation area shall be allowed. Residential fireplace ashes must be soaked in water prior to disposal.

• Grills using propane, pellets, and other bottled fuels shall be allowed, but only in areas free of flammable vegetation and other flammable materials, and such fires must be used and maintained in such a manner that no fire danger is presented to the surrounding area.

• All open fires allowed must be attended to at all times, and an adequate water supply and/or a fire extinguisher shall be on-site at all times while such an open fire is burning. All burning of trash, refuse, or debris shall be suspended.

• Smoking shall be suspended except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or outdoor smoking area that is hard-surfaced or barren, or otherwise cleared of all flammable vegetation or material. Discarding smoking materials in a receptacle not designed for disposal of smoking materials, discarding smoking materials from a moving or stationary motor vehicle, and discarding smoking materials in any other outdoor location are expressly prohibited.

• The use of explosive materials, including fireworks, solid fuel rockets, blasting caps, or any other incendiary device which may result in the ignition of flammable materials shall be suspended.

• Outdoor welding, grinding, or use of any type of torch in any area which presents the possibility of igniting vegetation or other combustible material shall be suspended unless there is an adequate water supply and/or fire extinguisher on site.

• Operating any outdoor equipment or machinery with an internal combustion engine in an undeveloped area shall be suspended unless said equipment or machinery is equipped with a spark-arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in good working order.

– Press release by Custer County Government

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