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April 21, 2022

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Boulder County enacts Level 1 Fire Restrictions

Forecast for continued warm temperatures, wind, and dry conditions has increased fire danger

Boulder County, Colo. - Sheriff Joe Pelle has enacted Level 1 Fire Restrictions, effective immediately, for all areas of unincorporated Boulder County. The fire restrictions are being implemented due to increasing fire danger, lack of moisture, and the forecast for warm temperatures.

The fire restrictions PROHIBITS:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using an open fire, campfire or stove fire (including charcoal barbecues and grills) on public land;
  2. The sale, use and possession of fireworks, including permissible fireworks;
  3. Shooting or discharging firearms for recreational purposes, except for hunting with a valid and current hunting license on public land;
  4. Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials;
  5. Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE-approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order. A chemical, pressurized fire-extinguisher must be kept with the operator, and at least one round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches must be readily available for use;
  6. Welding or operating an acetylene or other open-flame torch, except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter, and with a chemical, pressurized fire-extinguisher immediately available for use;
  7. Using an explosive; and
  8. Parking motorized vehicles in grass or vegetated areas that can come in contact with the underside of the vehicle.

The fire restrictions ALLOWS:

  1. Building, maintain, attending or using a fire in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates, within developed recreation sites (see below for a list of these sites), and on private lands;
  2. The use of portable stoves; lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel; or a fully enclosed (sheepherder-type) stove with a 1/4" spark arrester-type screen.

For current fire, shooting and developed recreation site restrictions and seasonal closures for USFS properties, visit:

The following United States Forest Service (USFS) developed recreation sites are located within Boulder County and are exempted from the fire restrictions, in accordance with USFS policies and closures, when open and staffed: Kelly Dahl Campground, Rainbow Lakes Campground, Camp Dick Campground, Peacefully Valley Campground, Meeker Park Overflow Campground, Olive Ridge Campground, and the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, which includes the Pawnee Campground.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office can’t ban agricultural burning, as it is protected by state law from county regulation. However, any agricultural fire that escapes and damages other property does subject the ditch operator or farmer to criminal and civil liability. Also, no agricultural burning should occur on red flag, fire weather watch, or high wind warning/watch days. Agricultural burns must be called in to dispatch when they are occurring by the farmer or ditch operator conducting them.

The fire restrictions do not affect open fires within incorporated cities and towns; however, residents and visitors must comply with applicable ordinances and regulations in their respective cities and towns. The fire restrictions will be in effect until Sheriff Pelle finds that the hazardous conditions have subsided.

Anyone found in violation of the fire restrictions may be convicted of a civil infraction and may be subject to up to a $1,000 fine, in addition to any possible civil penalties. Higher fines may be imposed for subsequent offenses.

Colorado state statutes authorize counties to impose fire restrictions, "to a degree and in a manner that the Board of County Commissioners deems necessary to reduce the danger of wildfires within those portions of the unincorporated areas of the county where the danger of forest or grass fires is found to be high based on competent evidence."