Forest Service moves to Stage II fire restrictions including prohibiting discharge of firearms

Due to extremely dry and windy conditions on National Forest System lands along the front range, U.S. Forest Service officials are increasing fire restrictions to Stage II for the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland (ARP).

The ARP is moving from Stage I to Stage II fire restrictions on June 22 for all NFS lands on the ARP until rescinded. These lands include Boulder, Canyon Lakes, Clear Creek, and Sulphur Ranger Districts and Pawnee National Grassland.

“We have a major fire burning on our Forest. Protecting people and homes is our main priority. Since fire danger is at an all-time high, doing what we can to prevent additional ignitions is imperative,” said ARP Forest Supervisor Glenn Casamassa.

As part of the shift to Stage II Fire restrictions, USFS officials are planning to expand the area restriction on discharge of firearms this June 25 from within the Boulder Ranger District to all NFS lands on the ARP. This prohibition would restrict all discharge of firearms on the Forests and Grassland, except for persons shooting at game while carrying a valid hunting license during the established legal hunting season.

“We want to be aggressive about reducing the risks of human caused fires, as we are continually suppressing new starts,” said Casamassa. “We need all Forests & Grassland visitors to follow the fire restrictions, including the prohibition of recreational firearm use.”

Under Stage II fire restrictions the following acts are prohibited:

· No open fire, except when using a petroleum stove, grill, or lantern with a buffer cleared of all vegetation on all sides for at least three feet.

· Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

· Owning or using fireworks or other pyrotechnic device.

· Using an explosive.

· Using any internal or external combustion engine (including chainsaws) without a spark arresting device properly working.

· Possessing or using a vehicle off National Forest System Roads, except when parking in areas completely cleared of all vegetation and operating a vehicle as described in a valid ARP Motor Vehicle Use Map.

· Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.

· Discharge of a firearm, except when possessing a valid Colorado hunting license while lawfully involved in hunting and harvesting game during the appropriate season.

Officials advise visitors to know about restrictions and their locations on a map before going out to the woods or grassland. Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available at all National Forest and Grassland offices at no cost. For office contact information and addresses: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/offices. Stage II fire restriction details can be found by going to www.fs.usda.gov/arp. They will be listed in the “Alerts and Notices” box on the right-hand column after they go into effect.

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