DURANGO, Colorado – December 13, 2017 – San Juan National Forest fire officials are warning that continued dry conditions in Southwestern Colorado mean that fire danger is a concern. In late November, a man target shooting with incendiary ammunition on private property adjacent to National Forest lands started a fire north of Durango that quickly grew to 60 acres near Electra Lake north of Durango. Fuel moistures are even drier now as we approach the end of December.

“Although it’s winter, we are extremely dry, and there is potential for fire activity because of our prolonged lack of moisture,” said Richard Bustamante, San Juan National Forest Fire Management Officer. “Dry grasses are very flammable right now and can act as a carrier fuel to quickly spread a fire even though days are short and nights are cold.”

The public is asked to follow these fire safety tips:
· If you must have an open fire outside, clear a wide area around it of all burnable material and keep a bucket of water, shovel, and other implements on hand.
· Never leave a fire unattended. Stir water and dirt into the coals until coals are cool to the touch and there is no smoke. Do not dump hot coals onto vegetation or flammable surfaces.
· Never toss cigarette butts out the car window. Extinguish smoking materials only in cleared areas free of vegetation or debris. Don’t park hot cars or recreational vehicles over dry vegetation. Exhaust systems can ignite flammable materials below.
· Off-road vehicles and chainsaws should be equipped with approved and recently updated spark arresters.
· Fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal on National Forest lands.
· Use of tracer bullets and exploding targets is illegal on National Forest System lands.