Forest Supervisor Monte Williams has stated that the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests east of the Continental Divide shall remain in Stage 3 Fire Restrictions, which closes the Forests to all uses until at least Saturday, November 7.
The decision comes after two meetings that took place on Monday, November 2, and Wednesday, November 4, with sheriffs in Grand, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Boulder, Larimer, and Jefferson counties in addition to Colorado Parks and Wildlife regional managers. Forest personnel West of the Divide in Grand County have prepared to return to Stage 2 Fire restrictions today, Friday, November 6, which bans all fires but opens the Forest to other uses as closures around fire areas will remain in effect.
“We continue to be in historically warm and dry conditions for this time of year,” said Monte. “What we need to see is a series of storms stacking up, bringing sufficient precipitation and sustained cold temperatures to provide some relief,” Monte said.
At the meeting, the team heard from NOAA meteorologists and fire managers who reviewed the short and long-term weather forecasts with conditions remaining windy, warm, and dry through the remainder of this week. A low-pressure system is currently developing and is expected to bring moisture to the area over this weekend, but predictions call for very little snow and water equivalency along the Front Range.
The Group will meet again tomorrow, Saturday, November 7, with aims to get a clearer picture of the incoming storm system and the 14-day outlook following that. The county sheriffs supported this decision and cited concerns for new fire starts, the risk of more loss of homes, and a drawdown of firefighting personnel and resources at this time.
Temperatures west of the Continental Divide within Grand County have remained cooler and allowed snow to melt more slowly with moisture being absorbed by the fuels. Higher amounts of snow are forecasted for this weekend and the coming week west of the Divide, and support from the Grand County sheriff and commissioners have led to Forest personnel to prepare to return to Stage 2 fire restrictions across the Sulphur Ranger District by today.
Forest Closures will remain in place around the Williams Fork, and East Troublesome Fire burned areas.
“We have to be sure we are really coming out of this current fire weather trend,” said Monte. “A monumental amount of effort goes into closing the forest and opening it up. It’s not a switch that we can keep flipping as conditions change,” Monte said.
For more information regarding the Williams Fork Fire closure, the East Troublesome closure, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/arp/alerts-notices/?aid=60908 and https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/arp/alerts-notices/?aid=60908 or for fire restriction information, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/arp/alerts-notices/?aid=57718