Burn ban restrictions are in effect for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Reservation.
The ban, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning, is expected to continue until the dry conditions improve. The U.S. Forest Service and the Durango Fire Protection District have not issued any restrictions, but officials are urging residents to take precautions ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
The Southern Ute restrictions apply to residents, businesses and industrial oil and natural-gas operators on reservation land.
Open burning of trash and yard waste is restricted. So is burning of crop land, fields, rangeland, debris burning, slash piles, prescribed burning and weed burning.
Building camp fires outside of official camp sites is banned, although charcoal fires for barbecues or fires for sweat ceremonies are allowed if they are watched and fully extinguished afterward. Possessing and using any type of fireworks is not allowed.
“Due to the current high temperatures, dry fuel conditions and the occurrence of recent wildland fires, Stage I fire restrictions have been implemented for all trust lands throughout the Southern Ute Indian Reservation,” a news release said. “Everyone on reservation land is asked to be very cautious and use common sense with fire this time of year.”
Ann Bond, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman for the San Juan National Forest, said the agency hasn’t made a decision yet on whether to issue a ban ahead of the holiday, but officials are talking with other federal, state and local agencies and watching conditions.
“Although we’re not ready right now to put any type of fire restrictions in place on the San Juan National Forest, that does not mean that people don’t need to be safe,” she said. “People need to be very careful with fire because there are some lower-elevation locations that are drying out more than the higher elevations.”
The Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center reports that fire danger is moderate on public lands in Southwest Colorado, according to the Forest Service. The dispatch center currently rates La Plata County’s fire danger as high.
For further information on commercial and industrial fire restrictions on the reservation, contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs Fire Office at (970) 563-4571.