MONTE VISTA, Colo. – Currently, there are no fire restrictions in place on the Rio Grande National Forest. Fire danger is rated as moderate, but the low elevation foothills are drying out and could carry a wildland fire. The public is encouraged to be careful with fire over the July 4th weekend and rest of the summer by following the below safety tips:
- Clear the area around campfires of all burnable material.
- 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. Check and replace spark arresters periodically.
- Fireworks, including sparklers, 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.
Contact any of the Rio Grande National Forest offices or visit the Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande for the latest information on fire danger.
To report a fire on federal lands, contact the Pueblo Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 719-553-1600.