Pike National Forest eases fire restrictions after recent rains

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In this image taken on April 29, 2013, salted oatmeal s'mores are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

In this image taken on April 29, 2013, salted oatmeal s’mores are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Recent rainfall is prompting the U.S. Forest Service to ease fire restrictions on some forest service lands in southern Colorado.

As of Thursday, the Pike National Forest and the San Carlos Ranger District of the San Isabel National Forest are under Stage 1 restrictions. They were previously under Stage 2 restrictions.

Under Stage 1 restrictions, visitors may only smoke in a vehicle or building, and only build or maintain fires and use charcoal in permanent fire pits or fire grates in a developed recreation site.

“The most notable restriction that remains is a restriction on campfires,” the Forest Service said in a statement. “Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire is prohibited except for fires in Forest Service installed fire grates in developed sites such as a campground where fees are charged. This prohibition includes but is not limited to, charcoal grills, hibachis, and coal or wood-burning stoves. Visitors may continue to use petroleum fuel devices as long as it has an on and off switch.”

Also as of Thursday, all restrictions have been lifted for the Salida and Leadville Ranger Districts of the San Isabel National Forest, as well as the Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands.

The forest service said to determine the need for fire restrictions, they examine variables such as precipitation, wind events, relative humidity levels, temperatures, expected weather patterns, fuel dryness, drought conditions, and available firefighting resources.

“Even with the change in restrictions, visitors should be aware of weather conditions and be careful with the use of fire outdoors,” the Forest Service said in a statement. “These restrictions can change again as the weather pattern changes and we ask that visitors check with their local U.S. Forest Service and county offices or go to the web to learn about specific restrictions.”

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