Colorado counties issue Stage 1 fire restrictions ahead of extreme fire-weather conditions Friday

"Extremely dangerous fire-weather conditions" expected Friday, NWS says
Posted: 11:24 AM, Apr 21, 2022
Updated: 2022-04-21 19:27:42-04

DENVER – Stage 1 fire restrictions are now in effect across several Colorado counties ahead of extremely dangerous fire-weather conditions Friday.

The ordinance effectively bans open burning of any kind and restricts the use of fireworks.

There are several exceptions, including:

  • Fires within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves
  • Fireplaces within buildings
  • Charcoal grill fires within developed residential or commercial areas
  • Fires within wood-burning stoves within buildings only
  • Professional firework displays
  • Fire suppression or fire department training fires
  • Small recreational fires at a developed picnic or campground sites contained in fixed permanent metal/steel fire pits (rock fire rings are considered temporary and not permanent) with flame lengths not in excess of four feet
  • Residential use of charcoal grills, tiki torches, fires in chimineas, or other portable fireplaces or patio fire pits, so long as said fires are supervised by a responsible person at least 18 years of age are allowed.

Violating fire restrictions is a Class-2 Petty Offense, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and a $10 surcharge. Residents who haven’t signed up for emergency notifications with Code Red are asked to do so by clicking here.

Among the jurisdictions implementing Stage 1 fire restrictions Thursday were Arapahoe, Boulder and Douglas counties. Jefferson County, along with 23 other Colorado counties and the Bureau of Land Management, implemented fire restrictions earlier in the week.

“These restrictions are being enacted due to current dry conditions favorable for the possibility of a wildfire, and limited availability of fire control resources,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader in a news release. “Please note the use of all fireworks are prohibited within the restricted area. Conditions will continue to be monitored and restrictions will be adjusted in the coming weeks as necessary.”

View a map of the counties with fire restrictions below.

Extreme fire danger for all of eastern Colorado Friday

The wildfire threat will continue Thursday after several fires on Wednesday, including one in Monte Vista that destroyed several structures. High temperatures are expected to be 10-15 degrees above normal Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. But on Friday, red flag warnings will be in effect from 11 9 p.m. from the foothills all the way across the eastern plains.

Winds across the area are expected to be sustained between 25 and 40 miles per hour out of the south, with gusts between 40 and 60 mph. The winds will increase Friday morning and be strongest in the afternoon into the evening.

Humidity levels are expected to be in the single digits to low teens, which, combined with the winds and temperatures nearing 80 degrees, will create prime conditions for wildfires to spread quickly.

As of this week, 87% of Colorado is experiencing moderate or worse drought. Thirty-three percent of the state is seeing severe or worse drought conditions, while 4% of the state – in the far southeast portion of Colorado – is seeing extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

The snowpack has also dropped this week and now sits at 85% of its median levels between 1991 and 2020.