As we celebrate Memorial Day and the start of summer, public land agencies are encouraging the public to take extra care with all campfires and combustible materials to prevent human-caused fires.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Field Offices Gunnison, Uncompahgre and Tres Rios; Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC); National Park Service (NPS), Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area, West Region Wildfire Council (WRWC), and Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) would like to provide some helpful tips and reminders for best practices to help prevent an unintentional wildfire when recreating and hunting on public lands this Memorial Day weekend.
To reduce the risk of wildfire, please consider the following:
• Practice proper vehicle maintenance; make sure tow chains are secure and a vehicle has no dragging parts, check tire pressure and maintain your brakes properly. Even chains dragging on the ground, such as those on mountain bikes, can start fires.
• When target shooting, where permitted, a few simple precautions can prevent devastating results: place your target on dirt or gravel, switch to paper targets, avoid incendiary targets and exploding ammunition, bring a shovel and a fire extinguisher, and report any fire by calling 911.
• Fireworks are never permitted on public lands.
• If you are camping and have a fire outside a designated fire pit where permitted, be sure to clear the area of debris, including grasses and small vegetation. Clear the perimeter of your fire site approximately 10 feet in diameter and use rocks or a fire pan to contain your fire. Always keep a shovel and water nearby to extinguish the fire.
• Never leave a fire unattended and make sure you have completely extinguished your campfire before leaving your campsite. Practice the drown, stir, feel method when putting out your campfire. Use water or earth to put out the fire, stir up the ashes and if necessary, keep adding water or earth until the fire is smothered.
• When smoking, always dispose of cigarette debris in an ashtray.
• Avoid driving and parking in tall grass. Exhaust particles and hot exhaust pipes can start grass fires. Park your vehicles/trailers and off-road vehicles away from dry grass or brush. Off-road travel is never permitted in national parks.
Even an accidental fire start can result in individual liability, including fines and/or imprisonment. Visit One Less Spark (http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Prevent-Wildfire/ ) for more tips on how to prevent wildfires and prepare for fire season. To learn more about campfire safety, visit
Before going out, be sure to “Know before you go!” Useful information on planning your trip can be found on the “Know before you go” Web page. Regulations vary between land management agencies, find out what is allowed before using fire.
Join the Principles of Leave No Trace outdoor ethics to leave your favorite spot ready for future visitors to enjoy. Protect yourself when recreating outdoors by checking the weather before you go, taking the proper gear including maps, carrying enough food and water, letting someone know where you are going, and when you plan to return, and using suggested or required safety equipment. Information on local fire restrictions is available online at: https://www.westslopefireinfo.com/.
For more information on the regulations applicable to the DFPC, please see: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dfpc
For more information on BLM-Uncompahgre field office regulations, please visit:
For more information on the West Region Wildfire Council, please visit: http://www.cowildfire.org/
For more information on BLM-Tres Rios field office regulations, please visit:
For more information on NPS regulations, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/blca/index.htm
For more information on Curecanti National Recreation Area regulations, please visit:
For more information on GMUG regulations, please visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/gmug