The unincorporated area of Montrose County will be in stage 1 fire restrictions beginning Thursday, August 20 at 12:01 am. Seasonal high temperatures, worsening dry conditions, and resources committed at major fires across the state were the deciding factors to take this precautionary measure. Additionally, the smoke in the valley has created poor air quality and is challenging for individuals with asthma, COVID-19, and other respiratory conditions.

“We are in a severe drought and measures need to be taken to keep our public lands and community safe,” said Sheriff Lillard. “Resources are limited due to major wildfires across the state, and we do not want to place a burden on an already taxed system. This is the smart and responsible thing to do for our community. We are continuing to work closely with federal land partners and adjoining counties to monitor conditions. We appreciate the public’s help in taking measures to prevent wildfires in our area.”

As Fire Marshal for Montrose County, Sheriff Lillard has the authority to implement and lift fire restrictions as necessary throughout the summer months.

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.

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