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June 2, 2020

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Fire restrictions updated for unincorporated Boulder County

Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County has had fire restrictions in place since April 8 under the authority of the Board of County Commissioners due to the county’s declaration of a local disaster emergency for unincorporated Boulder County. We have made the decision to move the fire restrictions back under the authority of Sheriff Joe Pelle, as it allowed under the Governor’s Executive Order.

This change in fire restrictions is to better align with our partners at the United States Forest Service, so that we have the same level of fire restrictions on their land, as well as on land in unincorporated Boulder County. The main difference in this change is the allowance of recreational sport shooting, which had previously not been allowed. Camp fires are now also allowed in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates, within developed recreation sites on public land.

We are still concerned about the firefighting and law enforcement resources while we have the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and continue to take a proactive measures to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents and first responders. These restrictions could be further amended in the future as fire danger elevates to again restrict recreational shooting.

The fire restrictions continue to include the mountain areas of unincorporated Boulder County as follows:

  • West of CO Highway 93 (CO-93), from its intersection with the southern boundary of Boulder County until, and including, its intersection with CO Highway 119 (CO-119);
  • West of Broadway Avenue in the City of Boulder, from its intersection with CO-119 until, and including, its intersection with US Highway 36 (US-36);
  • West of US-36, from its intersection with Broadway Avenue until its intersection with the northern boundary of Boulder County;
  • West of the western boundary of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space until, and including, US-36; and;
  • All of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space property.

The fire restrictions PROHIBIT:

  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using an open fire, campfire or stove fire (including charcoal barbecues and grills) in dispersed camping areas on public land;
  • Use of all personal fireworks;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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; and
  • Using an explosive.

The fire restrictions ALLOW:

  • Building, maintain, attending or using a fire in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates, within developed recreation sites (see below), and on private land;
  • Shooting or discharging firearms for recreational purposes, including for hunting with a valid and current hunting license on public land;
  • 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.

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.

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

Anyone found in violation of the fire ban may be convicted of a class two petty offense 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.

These fire restrictions are for unincorporated Boulder County. If you live within, or are visiting an incorporated city or town, please check with that city or town directly to see what, if any, fire restrictions they may have in place.