Montrose, COLO.—Due to the extremely dry conditions and the additional dry weather that is projected for the area, Sheriff Rick Dunlap has declared Stage 1 Fire Restrictions beginning Monday, May 21st. Moisture levels are dropping daily and are already at critical levels in lower elevations with wind, lightning storms, and more expected over the weekend. Earlier this week, the Board of County Commissioners passed Resolution 2018-30 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 Dunlap. “I would also encourage residents to sign up for the Sheriff’s Office Emergency Notification System, CodeRED, to stay informed this fire season.”

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.

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.