Wildfire Prevention and Safety for Visitors to our National Forests
Each year escaped campfires are the leading human cause of wildland fires. Please be fire safe in your enjoyment of the forest and help prevent wildfires.
Always be sure to check for fire restrictions before visiting public lands and use designated metal campfire rings when allowed and available. Consider safer alternatives with shut off switches when fire restrictions allow. Before leaving your campfire, always make sure you drown, stir and feel with the back of your hand to ensure it is dead out before leaving it! Most campfires that cause a wildfire, the campers believe they put it out only for it to dry out and rekindle later. Please report unattended campfires.
There are many types of causes of accidental human fires, always watch to make sure your trailer chains are not dragging and don’t park on dry grass; if target shooting place your targets in dirt or grass and know that explosive targets are always illegal on federal lands as well as fireworks and sky lanterns; if smoking or using a chainsaw make sure to always follow fire restriction regulations! Smokey has some great information on equipment and maintenance on his website.
Escaped campfires, fireworks and having a campfire during fire restrictions is no joke.
If a fire results from your escaped campfire or illegal use of fireworks, you can be subject to a citation and a fine. This violation doesn't just apply if your fire escapes but also if you "build, maintain, attend or use" a campfire in an area where campfires are not allowed. Violation of Stage 1 fire restrictions could result in a maximum fine of $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for more than six months, or both. You can also be held responsible for fire suppression costs. Suppression efforts are very costly, often running into hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Please take note - Having an illegal campfire will get you a ticket. And remember, fireworks are always illegal on National Forest System lands.
Wildfire Prevention and Home Risk Mitigation for Property Owners in the Wildland-Urban Interface
Much of our forest is located in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). The urban interface is defined as an area where urban communities mix with adjacent wildland areas increasing the complexity and magnitude of problems related to all aspects of natural resource management and direction, including increased fire risks. Many resources are available to help homeowner increase the chances of their home surviving a catastrophic wildfire. Fire has been part of the natural ecosystem in the forest for millions of years, it is not if a fire will come near your community or your home, but a question of WHEN. ARE YOU PREPARED?
Prepare your property and your family for the possibility of a wildfire and talk to your community on how you all can prepare together!
Important Fire Prevention Websites:
- Fire Adapted Colorado
- Firewise Information
- Colorado State Forest Service
- National Fire Protection Association - Preparing homes for wildfire