Not a fun topic, but a necessary one. The Pikes Peak region is generally a very arid place and when we have a wet spring and dry winter, our fuels grow and become tinder dry such as we are experiencing in the 2020 wildfire season.
What makes our outdoor recreation so accessible, the closeness of our Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), is cause for extreme caution.
So when you’re out recreating in our beautiful outdoors – close to home and in the backcountry both – you need to be very cautious and extra aware of the current conditions and regulations.
Here’s some helpful information:
To see Colorado fire restrictions based on County, see the web page HERE.
To access the local USFS Fire Information, see the web page HERE.
We will do our best to keep this updated, but please see the above links for the most accurate and timely information.
US Forest Service: As of April 7, 2020, the Forest Service Rocky Mountain region has enacted a fire ban across 24 national forests and grasslands across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota. Effective immediately until rescinded, the following is prohibited:
- Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood-burning stoves, and sheepherder’s stoves.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.
TELLER COUNTY: Teller County will be under a burn restriction beginning April 8, 2020. See specifics here.
EL PASO COUNTY: The fire ban in Unincorporated El Paso been rescinded as of March 24, 2020. See specifics here.
FREMONT COUNTY: The fire ban in Fremont County has been rescinded as of October 29, 2019. See specifics here.
PUEBLO COUNTY: Stage 1 fire ban in effect in Pueblo County as of March 26, 2020. See specifics here.
DOUGLAS COUNTY: The fire ban in Douglas County has been rescinded as of October 25, 2019. See specifics here.
PARK COUNTY:New burn ban restrictions in Park County were enacted April 7, 2020. See specifics here.
*Recent rainfall and cooler temperatures have reduced the danger of wildfire; however, people are encouraged to be vigilant as the danger of fire is always present. Additionally, please be aware that individual fire protection districts may still have restrictions in place within their respective boundaries.
Report a Fire
To report a wildfire call 911 OR the Pueblo Interagency Dispatch Center at 719-553-1600.
When you call, please be prepared to advise the dispatcher of the following information, if you have it:
- Your name
- Your location
- Your phone number
- Direction you are seeing the smoke/fire in
- Exact or approximate location of the fire/smoke
- Best way to access the fire location (only if you are certain of this access)
- Color of the smoke
- Height of the smoke column
- Direction the smoke column is moving (fast or slow as well)
- Anything in the area that might be hazardous to responders
Proper Campfire Management
Colorado’s low humidity has perks but can create dry, dangerous fire conditions. Below are tips and resources to help prevent wildfires and protect our great outdoors:
- Check to see if campfires are permitted. 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.
- If you think it isn’t safe enough to light a campfire — choose to be safe and not start one!
- 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
- 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
- Properly extinguish and dispose of cigarettes
- See steps below for putting out a fire
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.
April 19, 2018, Out There Colorado: Why This Wildfire Season is Particularly Dangerous in Colorado