Backcountry Visitors Reminded to be Safe with Fire from Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch


The Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center reports that fire danger is moderate in much of southwestern Colorado, but conditions are dry at lower to middle elevations. Fire restrictions are not in place on the San Juan National Forest, but the public is encouraged to be very careful with fire over the July 4th weekend and rest of the summer by following the below safety tips:

  • Call or visit the nearest San Juan National Forest office to find out if fire danger is low, moderate, high or extreme.
  • Clear the area around campfires. Remove all vegetation and debris from within 10 feet before you start a fire.
  • Have a bucket of water, shovel, and other implements on hand in case wind or other conditions cause your campfire to get out of control.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Make sure campfires are completely out before leaving. Stir water and dirt into the coals until the coals are cool to the touch and there is no smoke.
  • Extinguish smoking materials only in cleared areas free of vegetation or debris. Never toss cigarette butts out the car window.
  • Don’t park cars or recreational vehicles over dry vegetation. Exhaust systems can reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees; hot enough to start a wildfire during the summer.
  • Use an approved spark arrester on off-road vehicles and chainsaws. The screen between the exhaust port of the piston and muffler helps ensure that sparks generated won’t start wildfires. Check and replace spark arresters periodically.
  • Fireworks are always illegal on National Forest lands. The penalty for violators is a maximum of six months in prison and/or $5,000 fine. Anyone responsible for starting a wildfire may also be held responsible for the cost of putting it out and for damage caused.
To report a fire on federal lands, please contact the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 970 385-1324.