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Visitors to public lands for the 4th urged to be aware of fire bans

DENVER – While campfires often accompany camping, as do fireworks with the Fourth of July, extreme caution needs to be exercised this holiday and throughout the summer due to Colorado’s continued drought and the frequency of human-caused fires. Visitors enjoying public lands have a responsibility to know where campfires are allowed, how to properly extinguish them and that all fireworks are banned on Front Range public lands.

Between 2017 and 2021, 89 percent of wildfires in the United States were caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior and the Insurance Information Institute. Each year in Colorado, campfires that burn out of control are the leading human cause of wildfires.

Public land agencies along northern Colorado’s Front Range emphasize that although parts of Colorado have received moisture in the last month, drought conditions are still present. According to the National Weather Service U.S. Drought Monitor, as of June 21, 99 percent of Colorado is still experiencing abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions. Specifically, 38.5 percent of Colorado is classified as moderate drought, 30.3 percent as severe drought, and 12.5 percent as extreme drought.

Tips for fire safety and prevention include:

  • Check regulations for campfire restrictions and/or bans. Many areas do not allow campfires, and some areas that normally allow them are in a full fire ban instituted by local authorities and public land managers.
  • The smallest spark can start a big fire. Avoid parking or driving on dry grass, and don’t let trailer chains drag.
  • Know smoking restrictions. Many agencies do not allow smoking in natural areas.
  • Use designated campfire areas when allowed and available. Never leave a campfire unattended for any reason, and report campfires that have been left burning.
  • Make sure your campfire is dead out. Drown the campfire ashes with water. Stir, add more water, and stir again. Even if you don’t see embers, winds can easily re-ignite and spread an unattended campfire. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
  • Know exit routes in the area you visit. Download a trail map and carry a print map. Create a plan for an emergency such as fire. Access public land websites, including Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX), to view critical advisories and trail maps.
  • Fireworks are not permitted on Front Range public lands.

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