Even though Park County had a good winter and received a significant amount of moisture, the concern of wildfires is still on people’s minds, and Sheriff Tom McGraw, along with the Park County Board of County Commissioners and district fire chiefs, jointly worked together to create an ordinance to address these concerns.
It used to be that in order to have an enforceable fire ban, it had to be county-wide, which was problematic since levels of dryness in Bailey could be significantly different than at Lake George. In order to address that, Sheriff McGraw has authorized each fire district to be able to request a ban in their area and it will be enforced by the Sheriff’s Office. The fire chiefs worked together and designed a uniform burn permit for the all districts in the county.
According to the Ordinance, Section 5e, ““open fire” or “open burning” shall be defined as any outdoor fire, including, but not limited to, campfires, bonfires, the use of explosives, outdoor welding or hot work, fireworks of all kinds or brands, and the prescribed burning of fence lines or rows, fields, rangelands, wildlands, trash, and debris. All open burning is regulated in Park County by burn permit.”
In order to have an open fire in Park County, you need a burn permit, which are available at all fire district’s main stations for a fee of $10 per year. Those with permits issued prior to June 3 are also required to obtain a new permit. You also need to notify your fire district when you plan to burn. Park County has an automated information line 719-836-4160 that is updated daily with fire ban information.
Go to parkco.us/211/Emergency-Services to find your fire district. On the same page you can sign up for Code Red, which will notify you in case of emergency including fires and dangerous weather. There is also a link where you can sign up for Notify Me, which is another resource for allowing notification of emergency situations.
Campfires can be three feet by three feet and you need to provide fire suppression equipment at least five gallons of water, fire extinguisher and shovels. Burn barrels are illegal, and no slash burns are allowed between May 1 and Sept. 30. All slash piles need to be inspected by district fire chief prior to burning. Anyone caught burning without a permit is subject to a fine of $500 for first offense, $750 for second offense and $1000 for third offense. All levels will have a $15 surcharge added.