As a family-owned and operated local business, we’ve been keeping the Yampa Valley warm and happy since 2002. It’s our mission to be the Steamboat Springs area’s go-to resource for safe, quality products and services, with a personal touch. We love our outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, and we want you to enjoy them as well! Part of enjoying an outdoor fire is knowing how to have one safely. When you’re relaxing in your backyard, we don’t want you to worry about accidentally causing harm to the environment, let alone yourself or others. Knowing safety protocols creates a safer and happier outdoor experience for us all. Let’s keep our fellow Steamboat Springs residents safe, together!
What are Fire Restrictions?
Fire restrictions are in place to help in the reduction of wildfires and fire risk. They can change due to many variables, such as the weather and drought. There are three stages of fire restrictions:
- Stage One: The first stage occurs when there is an increasing fire danger and/or an increasing preparedness level, and the risks of keeping the forest open to all activities begin to be outweighed by the risks of doing so. Stage I imposes relatively minor restrictions aimed at preventing the start of wildfires based on human activities that are known to be high risk, specifically smoking and campfires.
- Stage Two: This stage intensifies the restrictions from Stage I by focusing on activities that, although normally managed under permit or contract, have a relatively high risk of causing a fire. Restrictions under Stage II will affect forest users and will have economic impacts on contractors, permittees, and others. Therefore, the decision to move to Stage II will involve a risk/benefit assessment, as well as consideration of economic and social impacts. Stage II prohibits all open flames except gas-fueled devices that can be turned off. Routt County is under Stage II restrictions effective 12:00 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2021.
- Stage Three: This stage means closure. Stage three is met when the risks of fire are extremely high. At this point, the social or economic impacts are outweighed by the benefits of virtually eliminating the potential for human-caused fire.
Go to http://www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html for information on local and federal fire bans. Now that we’ve covered your bases with fire restrictions, we’ll discuss the best practices on how to have an outdoor fire in a safe manner next.
How to Safely Have an Outdoor Fire
If you’re planning on having an outdoor fire, either in a backyard or a wilderness setting, it’s important to be responsible. Ignoring safety regulations could result in financial loss and could end up being deadly. It’s the summer and we all want to have fun, so let’s be safe first!
- First, consider whether you really need to have a wood fire and if that fire is currently allowed under local or federal fire restrictions. There are lots of portable gas-fired alternatives to a pile of wood and a blaze that can last for hours. In Routt County, go to https://co.routt.co.us/311/Critical-Emergency-Information for more information about current restrictions.
- Check the wind conditions. If it is particularly windy, then consider waiting to have that fire. It becomes difficult to light kindling and high winds could accidentally send sparks nearby dry brush or structures that could potentially ignite and get out of control fast.
- Don’t light a fire under trees or a building – make sure your fire is out in the open so to not endanger anything nearby. In addition, keep wood chairs well away from the flames.
- Always have an extinguisher nearby. Be ready to put out a fire quickly if needed.
- Never leave a fire unattended. Even if there are just embers in the pit, do not leave it unsupervised.
- When you are ready to turn in, drench and stir your wood fire – making absolutely certain that the fire and embers are cold.
Not All Wildfires Are Bad
We’ve become accustomed to seeing larger-than-life wildfire events that have been catastrophic to the environment. The East Troublesome and Cameron Peak wildfires were uncomfortably close and our current season is well underway. However, what if not all wildfires in the outdoors are bad? What if some are intentional? Truth is, some fires in forests are intentional and are done to help create barriers – specifically to set a path for approaching wildfires. This takes away any flammable material, and allows the fire to die out faster.
Intentional fires can also be used to burn off any aggressive vegetation that isn’t suitable for the wildlife in the area. Of course, intentional fires are often conducted by professionals and even intentional fires can get out of hand – such as the intentional fire set in the Brazilian Amazon.
Overall, we hope that you found this article useful and educational. Steamboat Springs is our home; let’s protect the community and one another by staying informed. We want everyone to be safe when they’re outside – by keeping safety in mind at all times, you can help ensure you enjoy any fire that you set outside. Remember, Mountain Home Stove & Fireplace is here for you! Got questions? Call us anytime at 970-879-7962!