Campfires Cause Concern for Land Management Officials

I wanted to pass on the following release from our partners at the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit in Grand Junction, CO.


It is fire season in the West.  There are large wildfires burning in several western states including three in Colorado.

Since the first of May, fire crews from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit (UCR) have responded to 25 reports of unattended campfires, with several burning well beyond the fire ring they were built in.  

Officials for the UCR report that forecasted fire danger over the next few days and for the July 4th weekend ranges from Moderate to Very High. While there are no fire restrictions in effect at this time, all recreationists are urged to exercise caution with open campfires, leaving no fire unattended and to make sure fires are completely out prior to leaving them. Avoid building fires you don’t need; however if you do, it’s recommended that you build campfires only in established fire rings within established recreation facilities. Recreationists should have plenty of water and a shovel near any fire while it is burning, and use plenty of water to put it out. Make sure the ashes have stopped sizzling and are cold to the touch before leaving the area.

Fire managers have the flexibility to manage naturally started fires for multiple objectives, including allowing fire to play its natural, beneficial role in the ecosystem.  However, all human-caused fires are suppressed are suppressed by firefighters and fully investigated.  Human-caused fires often occur in areas with a greater potential to harm life and property.

Fire officials want folks to enjoy their time outdoors; however, they also remind visitors that unattended campfires are not the only way human-caused wildfires get started.  Smoking in brush area, heat from vehicle exhaust and converters, fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are also major causes of wildfire.  The use of fireworks or similar devices is prohibited on federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the National Park Service.

The ongoing mountain pine beetle epidemic is creating a build-up of fuels in many areas, making the possibility of human-caused wildfire even greater.  Not only is the potential greater, the outcomes could significantly more costly and damaging.

Fires should be reported by calling 911 or the UCR dispatch center in Grand Junction at 970-257-4800.  Please be prepared to give as much information as possible regarding location and size of the fire when you report it.

Patrick (Pat) A. Thrasher
Public Affairs Officer, White River National Forest
Cell Phone: 970-366-0039
FAX: 970-945-3211