By this time in 02 and 03, the whole state seemed to be on fire. Things are looking good this year. We have had smoke hanging in the area from AZ fires the last 36 hours. Here is current news for 4th of July:
For the first time in many years there will be no fire restrictions on the San Juan Public Lands, which are comprised of the San Juan National Forest and BLM-San Juan Field Office, for the upcoming July 4th weekend.
According to Fire Management Officer Mark Lauer, “There is a wide array of conditions out there right now. In the lower elevations, especially in the pinyon-juniper forests, the grasses are tall and they are drying out, but above 11,000 feet recreationists will still find patchy snow and water running down trails.”
The significant rain and snowfall that Southwest Colorado received this winter was a real blessing to the drought-parched forests; it refilled reservoirs and ponds and put a lot of moisture back into the trees and shrubs, however, it also brought on strong grass growth this spring.
“Those grasses are what we’re really keeping an eye on right now,” said Lauer. These smaller fine fuels can ignite quickly as they dry out, especially the cheatgrass, which turns purple, and then brown, as it dries out.”
Thunderstorms in the past week have brought plenty of lightning but only a small amount of moisture to the area so fire officials urge visitors to the backcountry to be cognizant of their surroundings and use fire with caution, especially in areas with dry grass and dead pine trees. The following safety tips are encouraged:
Locate your campfire away from flammable materials like dry grass and dead trees, preferably in an established fire ring.
Always put campfires completely out every time you leave camp. Pour water on the ashes and stir until there is no smoke and ashes are cool to the touch.
Keep fire control tools handy. Make sure that you have a bucket of water and a shovel nearby in case your campfire starts to get out of control. Dispose of cigarette butts in an ashtray or other appropriate container. Make sure chainsaws have working spark arresters, and carry water, a shovel, and fire extinguisher when cutting firewood. Park your vehicle in areas cleared of vegetation, not over dry grasses.
Enjoy your July 4th holiday, but leave your fireworks at home if you’re headed to the forest. Fireworks are not allowed on public lands.
More info at:
[ June 28, 2005, 05:51 AM: Message edited by: Flint ]