Unusually dry conditions for late September have federal fire officials urging the public be extremely careful with fire. Conditions are extremely dry throughout all elevations of the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit in western Colorado.
In particular, fire officials are continuing to find a significant number of unattended campfires on the White River National Forest and surrounding Bureau of Land Management lands.
“We haven’t had a busy fire season in this area so far this year, but the recent warm weather and lack of rain have made the fire danger unusually high for this time of year,” said Bill Hahnenberg, Fire Management Officer for UCR.
UCR fire officials are urging the public to ensure that all campfires are completely extinguished before leaving camp. Also, ATVs and chainsaws need to have working spark arresters, and people should avoid parking over tall grass and brush, which can ignite from the heat of the automobile.
Hahnenberg said, “Unless significant moisture arrives within the next week, fire restrictions for U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands within the Upper Colorado River are likely.”
Fire officials are closely watching a cold front that is expected to arrive in the area Wednesday evening, which could bring significant moisture to the area.
The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit is composed of the BLM Colorado River Valley and Grand Junction Field Offices; Grand Valley Ranger District of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests; the White River National Forest; and the Colorado National Monument. It encompasses more than 4.5 million acres oriented along the Interstate 70 corridor from the Continental Divide on the east to the Utah state line on the west.