Montrose County Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Start July 2

Montrose, COLO.—Due to the extremely dry conditions and the additional dry weather that is projected for the area, Sheriff Gene Lillard has recommended Stage 1 Fire Restrictions beginning Thursday, July 2nd. Moisture levels are dropping daily, federal land partners have reported several unattended several campfires, and are already at critical levels in lower elevations with wind, lightning storms, and potential for storms at high elevations. Today, the Board of County Commissioners passed Resolution 31-2020 that authorizes the sheriff, the fire warden for the county, to implement and lift fire restrictions as necessary through the summer months.

“Unfortunately we have reached a point where enacting stage 1 restrictions is necessary to reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Sheriff Gene Lillard. “We have been working closely with our federal land partners and adjoining counties constantly monitoring conditions and watching available resources. We appreciate the public’s assistance in working to mitigate wildfire.”

The restrictions apply to the unincorporated county area and do not include the City of Montrose, Town of Olathe, Town of Naturita, and Town of Nucla. The stage 1 fire restrictions do not allow open burning of any kind to include agricultural burning, open campfires, and fireworks. Smoking cigarettes outdoors is not allowed, unless in an enclosed vehicle or building or in a developed recreation site. Campfires in a pre-approved campground, State Park/KOA, or enclosed fire pits are permitted. As a reminder, fireworks on publicly managed lands are prohibited.

Please be advised that penalties for violating the fire ban include: Class-2 petty offense with fines ranging from $100 to $500 depending on the number of offenses. If a fire causes damage to another individual’s property, additional criminal charges may apply. These fire restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.

Confirmed Case of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Montrose County

Montrose, CO—Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and Montrose County Public Health has confirmed that one person in Montrose County tested positive for novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 on March 20, 2020. The individual is a 39-year-old male and is currently in quarantine at his residence. The testing process is overseen by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and was conducted by Montrose County Public Health Department.

 “This individual is currently in self-isolation. CDPHE staff, in conjunction with Montrose County Public Health, are monitoring the person who may have been exposed and investigating any additional contacts this individual may have had with community members,” said Lisa Gallegos, Montrose County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and Communicable Disease Specialist. “We hope this individual recovers quickly and that there limited spread in Montrose County. Systems are in place to address the needs of the affected individual.”   

Montrose Memorial Hospital has implemented temporary visitor restrictions.  As such, people with respiratory symptoms are not permitted to visit (symptoms include cough, sore throat, aches, fever).  Children under the age of 18 are not allowed in the patient care areas.  Additionally, only one visitor will be allowed per patient and lengths of visits may be limited.  

“Montrose County Public Health and community partners have been preparing for this circumstance, and we want to reassure the community that the county is in constant communication with both the CDPHE and CDC regarding this incident and future preparedness measures,” said Commissioner Keith Caddy.  “I am asking that Montrose County residents help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by following guidance from the CDC to include social distancing, hand-washing, and self-isolation when experiencing mild symptoms.”  

If you are feeling ill with symptoms similar to those associated with COVID-19:

  • Manage your symptoms at home the same way you manage other cold symptoms. We want to reduce the risk of transmission, so to the extent possible, people with flu-like symptoms should remain at home.
  • If you need medical care, contact your primary care provider via phone. Let them know that you are concerned you might have COVID-19.
  • Only contact 9-1-1 for emergencies requiring immediate life-saving care and let them know if you are concerned you might have COVID-19.
  • Restrict visits to the hospital emergency room or urgent care – only individuals needing immediate care should visit these facilities. If you must visit an ER or urgent care facility, call ahead and let them know that you are concerned you might have COVID-19.

Please note that Public Health was notified about this case after 4pm, as such the state’s website and interactive data are updated daily at approximately 4pm.  This case will not be reflected on the state’s website until the update the afternoon of March 21, 2020.





National Guard Testing Pre-Screened COVID-19 Patients Monday

Contact: Katie Yergensen, Montrose County Media Relations Manager, (970) 964-8701

National Guard Testing Pre-Screened COVID-19 Patients Monday

Montrose, CO—The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has selected Montrose County for a surveillance site to collect COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing data and have enlisted the help of the Colorado National Guard.

Tests will be conducted Monday, March 23, at the Montrose County Event Center. One hundred county residents are being carefully selected to be tested based on various risk factors, symptoms, and state requirements for data collection. Local providers and public health experts are coordinating in the selection process. Please note: you may not request the test in person at the testing site, everyone needs to be pre-screened. Please contact your primary care provider to be pre-screened if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

“We are doing our best to provide as many testing resources as possible to our community,” said Incident Commander Scott Hawkins. “The pre-screened tests will allow our most vulnerable and potentially ill residents to be tested in an efficient manner and provide timely results. If we could test more people we would, but testing is very limited at this time. Thank you to Montrose Memorial Hospital for assisting with this effort and working diligently to protect the public health of our community.”

“It’s important to remember that 80 percent of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms,” said Montrose County Public Health Medical Adviser Dr. Joe Adragna, M.D., M.H.A., M.G.H, FAAFP. “None of these results will change our clinical management, but will provide valuable public health data. If you have a cold, cough or a fever, please self-isolate for 14 days, and treat your symptoms.”

• If you have symptoms and you are otherwise healthy, self-isolate for 14 days and treat your symptoms.
• If you have symptoms and you are high-risk (over 65 years-old, have a pre-existing condition such as heart, kidney or lung disease, or are immune-compromised), call your provider (or use patient portal if one is available).
• If you are asymptomatic but have had contact with someone who is sick, you will not be tested and you do not require medical care. Instead, you should self-quarantine for 14 days to see if you develop symptoms.
• If you are asymptomatic, you will not be tested and do not require medical care. Avoid contact with sick people, limit exposure in public places and continue best practices to do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The Montrose County Event Center was selected as the testing site by Incident Command due to the National Guard requirements for size and safety.

“There is no threat to public health or safety,” said Commissioner Keith Caddy. “Now is a time to remain calm and come together as a community.”

Approximately 70 people from CDPHE and the National Guard will arrive in town Sunday to begin setting up for testing. There will also be increased law enforcement presence on Monday as testing is in progress. For more information on COVID-19, please visit or contact the Public Information line at 970-252-4545.

Montrose, CO. El Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado (CDPHE) ha seleccionado al Condado de Montrose para un sitio de vigilancia y recopilar datos de prueba COVID-19 (coronavirus) y se ha solicitado la ayuda de la Guardia Nacional de Colorado.
Las pruebas se llevarán a cabo el lunes 23 de Marzo en el Centro de Eventos del Condado de Montrose. Cien residentes del condado están siendo cuidadosamente seleccionados para ser evaluados en función de diversos factores de riesgo, síntomas y requisitos estatales para la recopilación de datos. Los proveedores locales y los expertos en salud pública están coordinando el proceso de selección. Tenga en cuenta: Que no puede solicitar la prueba en persona en el sitio, todos deben ser evaluados previamente. Comuníquese con su proveedor de atención primaria para realizar un examen previo si cree tener síntomas de COVID-19.
Estamos haciendo todo lo posible para proporcionar muchos recursos de prueba como sea posible a nuestra comunidad”, dijo el comandante del incidente Scott Hawkins. “Las pruebas preseleccionadas permitirán que nuestros residentes más vulnerables y potencialmente enfermos sean evaluados de manera eficiente y asi se brinden resultados rápidos. Si pudiéramos evaluar a más personas, lo haríamos, pero las pruebas son muy limitadas en este momento. Gracias a Montrose Memorial Hospital por ayudar con este esfuerzo y trabajar diligentemente para proteger la salud pública de nuestra comunidad”.
Es importante recordar que el 80 por ciento de las personas que prueban positivo para COVID-19 tienen síntomas leves o ningún síntoma “, dijo el asesor médico de salud pública del condado de Montrose, Dr. Joe Adragna, M.D., M.H.A., M.G.H, FAAFP. “Ninguno de estos resultados cambiará nuestro procedimiento de manejo clínico, pero proporcionará datos valiosos de la salud pública. Si tiene un resfriado, tos o fiebre, aíslese por 14 días y trate sus síntomas “.
• Si tiene síntomas y, por lo demás, está sano, aíslese por 14 días y trate sus síntomas.
• Si tiene síntomas y tiene un alto riesgo (más de 65 años, tiene una condición preexistente, como una enfermedad cardíaca, renal o pulmonar, o está inmunocomprometida), llame a su doctor (o use el portal del paciente si tiene uno creado).
• Si es asintomático (se encuentra bien de salud), pero ha tenido contacto con alguien que está enfermo, no se le realizará una prueba y no necesitará atención médica. En su hogar, debe ponerse en cuarentena durante 14 días para ver si desarrolla síntomas.
• Si usted es asintomático (se encuentra bien de salud), no será examinado y no requiere atención médica. Evite el contacto con personas enfermas, limite la exposición en lugares públicos y continúe con las mejores prácticas para hacer su parte en prevenir la propagación de COVID-19 (coronavirus).
El Centro de Eventos del Condado de Montrose fue seleccionado como sitio de pruebas por el Comando de Incidentes debido a los requisitos de tamaño y seguridad requeridos por la Guardia Nacional.
No existe ninguna amenaza de salud o de seguridad pública”, dijo el comisionado Keith Caddy. “Ahora es el momento de mantener la calma y unirnos como comunidad”.
Aproximadamente 70 personas del CDPHE y la Guardia Nacional llegarán a la ciudad el Domingo, que empezarán a prepararse para las pruebas. También habrá una mayor presencia policial el Lunes a durante el progreso de las pruebas. Para obtener más información sobre COVID-19, visite o comuníquese con la línea de Información pública al 970-252-4545.

COVID-19 Testing in Montrose County

Contact: Katie Yergensen, Montrose County Media Relations Manager, (970) 964-8701

COVID-19 Testing in Montrose County

Montrose, CO— Due to a shortage of COVID-19 testing capacity across the US, and especially in Southwest Colorado, there have not been enough tests conducted in Montrose County to definitively conclude that COVID-19 is not circulating in our community.

“We understand that our community is concerned and we want to be as transparent as possible throughout this incident. We know residents are worried about testing and we want to provide as much information as we possibly can,” said Commissioner Roger Rash. “These are trying times and we need to pull together to stay healthy and help out each other.”

Therefore to protect your health, Montrose County is operating as if COVID-19 is present and circulating in our community now or will be very soon. We are emphasizing social distancing strategies to slow its spread. Try to maintain a distance of six feet when interacting with other individuals outside of your immediate family. Examples of social distancing include:

• Staying home.
• Not shaking hands. Instead, bump fists or elbows.
• Increasing distance between people to six feet to help reduce spread.
• Reducing the number of large group gatherings or activities.
• Keeping children and teens from gathering in other public places.

There has been an increase in inquiries to the public information line, and we want to let you know the number of tests that have been collected from this area. Based on the information made available to us, so far this number is approximately 42 as of this morning. Some of these tests are still being processed. We are working as hard as we can to bring more testing to this community.

CALL FIRST: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your primary care provider by phone first. The provider will be able to determine if you meet the criteria necessary for the test and often will be able to perform the test at their practice if supplies are available. If you do not have a primary care provider, please reach out to the Public Information line at 970-252-4545 and press option “2” to be connected with public health. Please note that calls will be answered from 8am to 6pm Monday through Saturday at this time. For calls outside of that time frame, please reach out to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for general questions regarding COVID-19 at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email them at for answers in English. The state hotline cannot provide testing results, order testing, or clear individuals for work. Please remember, 911 should be used for medical emergencies only. For updates on COVID-19, please visit or

Counties and Public Land Agencies Offer Friendly Reminders on Best Practices for Preventing Wildfires

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2019
Media Contacts:
Kimberlee Phillips, USFS PAO
(970) 874-6717
Katie Yergensen, Montrose County PIO
(970) 964-8701

Counties and Public Land Agencies Offer Friendly Reminders on Best Practices for Preventing Wildfires

Montrose,COLO.—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gunnison, Uncompahgre and Tres Rios Field Offices; Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC); National Park Service (NPS), Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area; the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests; Colorado Parks and Wildlife; Hinsdale County; San Miguel County; Delta County; Gunnison County; Ouray County; and Montrose County would like to provide a few helpful reminders and tips for best practices to help prevent wildfires this fall.

The Cow Creek fire is currently burning in Ouray County, and while the cause of the fire remains under investigation officials would like to encourage the public to be mindful of fire safety. At this time there are no active fire restrictions within any of the above counties to include U.S. Forest Service managed land. County law enforcement, public land officials, and weather forecasters continue to monitor conditions to determine whether or not restrictions are necessary.

Recreational users on public lands and public engaging in agricultural burning should keep a few things in mind that can help prevent an unintentional wildfire. To reduce wildfire risk, please consider the following:

*Practicing proper vehicle maintenance; ensuring that tow chains are secured and a vehicle has no dragging parts, check tire pressure, and properly maintaining your brakes. Even chains dragging along the ground, such as those on ATVs, can spark fires.
*Park your vehicles/trailers and off-highway vehicles away from dry grass or brush.
*When target shooting taking 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 fire extinguisher, and report any fires by calling 911.
*Fireworks are never permitted on public lands.
*If you are camping and build a fire outside a designated fire ring make sure you clear the area of debris including, grasses and small vegetation. Clear your fire site perimeter approximately 10 feet in diameter and use rocks or a fire pan to contain your fire. Never leave a fire unattended and make sure that you completely put out your campfire before leaving your campsite. The act of leaving a camp fire unattended can result in a citation.
*Practice the drown, stir, feel method when extinguishing your campfire. Use water or dirt to douse the fire, stir the ashes and if necessary continue to add water or dirt until the fire is smothered.
*When smoking, always dispose of cigarette debris in an ashtray.
*Avoid driving and parking in tall grasses. Exhaust particles and hot exhaust pipes can start grass fires.
*Call your local non-emergency dispatch before and after agricultural burning and know open burning regulations in your area.

Even an accidental fire start can result in the individual being held responsible including fines and/or jail time. Visit One Less Spark ( for more great tips on how to prevent wildfire and be prepared for fire season. To learn more about campfire safety visit

Before heading outside, be sure to “Know Before You Go!” Helpful information about planning your trip can be found on the “Know Before You Go” ( Regulations vary between land management agencies, learn what is permitted before you use fire.

Adhere to the Leave No Trace Principles ( of outdoor ethics to leave your favorite spot ready for the next visitors to enjoy. Keep yourself safe while recreating outdoors by checking the weather before you go, taking the appropriate equipment including maps, carrying enough food and water, letting someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back, and utilizing suggested or required safety equipment. Local fire restriction information can be found online at:

For more information on the Cow Creek Fire, please visit
For more information on regulations for DFPC please visit:
For more information on regulations for the BLM-Uncompahgre Field Office please visit:
For more information on regulations for the BLM-Tres Rios Field Office please visit:
For more information on regulations for the NPS, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park please visit:
For more information on regulations for the Curecanti National Recreation Area please visit:
For more information on regulations for the GMUG please visit:


Nelson Ditch Fire Update


Contact: USFS GMUG Public Affairs Officer, Kimberlee Phillips, (Phone) 970-874-6717 or (Cell) 970-589-0842

Contact: Montrose County Sheriff Gene Lillard, (970) 252-4023

Date: Thursday, July 18, 2019

Acres: 43 acres as of July 18 at 1800
Containment: 40 %
Personnel: 75
Weather: Hot temperatures and dry conditions continue. The Red Flag Warning from July 18 has been lifted as winds have significantly decreased in the area. Weather conditions continue to be warm with no sign of precipitation in the near future.
Public Safety: For the safety of the public and fire personnel, the public is asked to travel slowly and use caution in the presence of fire crews.
Closures: There are no closures or evacuations associated with the Nelson Ditch fire.
Planned Activity: An incident command post has been created in Norwood to manage fire operations and is being led by Incident Commander Cody Russell with the U.S. Forest Service. The Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) were released from the fire and currently two helicopters, one water tender, and six engines remain. Also, a Type 1 Hot Shot Crew—the San Juan Hot Shots out of Durango—arrived today and will begin to increase the fire line and monitor hot spots in the canyon. Firefighters are going direct and actively fighting the fire as allowed with firefighter and public safety as the top priority. Currently there is a perimeter around 40 percent of the fire. The fire continues to burn through pinyon juniper fuels, with no current growth shown after a recent flight by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control’s Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA). The MMA is a Pilatus PC-12 turbo-prop aircraft that is outfitted with state-of-the-art infrared and color sensors that provide near real time information to ground forces on initial attacks on wildfires.
Yesterday’s Activity: The Nelson Ditch Fire was initially reported at 13:43 on Wednesday, July 17, and is the result of a lightning strike. It is located approximately 3.5 miles north of Norwood on Deer Mesa, on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Initial attack resources came from the BLM, MCSO deputies, San Miguel Sheriff’s Office deputies, Norwood Fire, Placerville Fire, and Telluride Fire Protection District’s Wildfire Crew. There was a large amount of smoke in the area and two Single Engine Air Tanker (SEATs) and one helicopter successfully limited the growth of the fire. A large amount of smoke in the area, combined with smoke from wildfires in Arizona, impacted air quality and visibility in the area. Horses that were initially evacuated to the San Miguel County Fairgrounds have returned home to safe conditions. The limited growth of the fire may also be attributed to fire mitigation efforts in the area by private landowners. This mitigation assistance reduces the number of fuels and creates natural barriers to inhibit wildfire growth. Fire updates will be posted to

Homeowners interested in fire mitigation work are encouraged to contact the West Region Wildfire Council at (970) 615-7300 or

Residents are encouraged to sign-up for CodeRED emergency notification. You may list your home phone (landline) or download the CodeRED app for your smart phone. The best way to ensure your safety is to stay informed and signing-up for automated emergency messaging through Code Red. It is free and the application process only takes a minute.

Fire Information Links:

Wildfire Smoke Information:
West Slope Fire Information:
Twitter: @MontroseSheriff

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