Faced with a difficult decision, Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap is declaring Stage 2 Fire Restrictions to take effect Thursday, June 14th at 12:00pm. This announcement comes on the heels of Stage 1 Restrictions on May 21. Record high temperatures, extremely low moisture levels, and high winds are the basis for this decision.

“This was not a decision that was made lightly,” said Sheriff Dunlap. “I fully realize the impacts and inconveniences of Stage 2 Restrictions; however, it is my duty to do all I can to help protect our area from wildfire and I believe this is our best course of action. To date, the public has been extremely helpful and mindful of the restrictions and I would like to offer my thanks for their cooperation.”

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 largest change from Stage 1 to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions is the prohibition of fires, campfires, charcoal, coal, and wood stoves. The exception to this is a device that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet. Also, smoking cigarettes outdoors is not allowed, unless in an enclosed vehicle or building or in a developed recreation site.

Please be advised that penalties for violating the fire restrictions 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.

Montrose County’s announcement moving to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions follows that of San Miguel County, Ouray County, and will be joined by several other counties and federal agencies. For a complete listing of restrictions and links to official information, please visit westslopefireinfo.com.