(EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.) — Stage I Fire Restrictions are in place for unincorporated areas of El Paso County starting Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Due to low precipitation, fairly consistent winds and warmer temperatures, coupled with the frequency of ongoing outdoor fire responses, Sheriff Bill Elder has ordered Stage I Fire Restrictions for all of the unincorporated areas of El Paso County.

These restrictions will be effective until moisture or a good heavy snowfall occurs, which will dramatically increase moisture levels and/or knock down our flashy fuels (grasses). The following are prohibited until Stage I Fire Restrictions are lifted:

  • Open fire & open burning, except:
    • Fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds, or private residences in areas cleared at least 3’ of all flammable materials.
    • Fires in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds, or private residences contained within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, fire pits or appliances; liquid propane (LPG), or natural gas; cleared at least 3 feet of all flammable materials, with flames lengths not exceeding 2 feet.
    • Fires for which a permit has been obtained by the local fire protection district dating after the restriction date.
  • No use of fireworks and explosive materials, including “exploding” targets or bullets and tracer rounds.
  • Outdoor smoking except:
    • Within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren of and cleared of all flammable materials.
    • Exercise industry safety practices when welding or operating an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame and always clear safe areas of vegetation and combustibles.

“Fire prevention is a community-wide endeavor, and we must all work together to prevent fires,” says El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.