There’s no denying, the summers in Colorado are breathtakingly beautiful. The dry climate and warm temperatures provide a perfect atmosphere for exploring our beautiful state, but they can also create an environment that is susceptible to fire danger. As we navigate through wildfire season in the Rocky Mountains, we want to make sure our visitors and residents have the resources they need to stay proactive, aware, and safe. There are so many things to do in Colorado when visiting our parks and wilderness areas, it's important we follow these guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our beautiful state.
When a wildfire occurs, heavy resources are sent in to help affected areas and state agencies work diligently to keep the public informed. It is important to be aware of fire conditions across the state, to make sure you and those around you can still safely enjoy a memorable Colorado vacation. Even when Steamboat Springs has a particularly wet summer, it is still extremely susceptible to forest fires.
The Colorado Division of Emergency Management is your resource for up to date information on location and status of fires around the state. Follow them on Twitter and the Inciweb Incident Information Center. A big part of wildfire prevention is education.
Below are tips and resources for Colorado residents and travelers to help prevent wildfires and protect our great outdoors:
- Keep campfires small and manageable.
- Never let a fire burn unattended.
- Properly maintain and watch campfires.
- Do not build a fire at a site in hazardous, windy or dry conditions. Check to see if campfires are permitted.
- Do not build a fire if the campground, area or event rules prohibit campfires. Check with the campground or forest representative.
- Use an existing fire ring or fire pit. If there is not an existing fire pit, and pits are allowed, look for a site that is at least fifteen feet away from tent walls, shrubs, trees or other flammable objects. Also, beware of low-hanging branches overhead.
- Supervise children and pets when they are near fire.
- Never cut live trees or branches for fires.
- Fire restrictions and bans are set by local jurisdictions and by individual forest agencies. Check with the local sheriff's office, fire department or the federal forest agency before lighting a campfire this summer.
- If you think it isn't safe enough to light a campfire, choose to be safe and not start one.
- Properly extinguish and dispose of cigarettes.
- When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers
Watch: Campfire Etiquette
Extinguish your campfire properly by following these steps from Smokey Bear and US Forest Service:
- Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible.
- Pour lots of water on the fire, drown all the embers, not just the red ones.
- Pour until hissing sound stops.
- Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel.
- Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers.
- Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch.
- If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool. Remember: Do not bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.
Download this useful poster from Visit Colorado and check out Colorado.com/WildfireProtection for more information. We hope you enjoy our beautiful state and appreciate your efforts to stay informed and be proactive in preventing potential wildfire dangers.