Upon the recommendation of Sheriff Duke Schirard and the local Fire Chiefs, the La Plata County Board of County Commissioners lifted the Stage I fire restrictions today in La Plata County, which includes all private lands in the unincorporated areas of La Plata County, excluding those private lands in the town of Bayfield, Ignacio, Durango or any Federal or Tribal lands. The fire restrictions were originally enacted to mitigate the high degree of fire danger that existed in La Plata County due to a lack of precipitation and extremely dry conditions.
Although the fire restrictions have been lifted, residents must obtain a permit from their local fire department when they plan to burn (with two exceptions, see below). Permits can be obtained from the below fire departments:
• Durango Fire and Rescue Authority (for properties in the Animas valley corridor from the north county line to New Mexico), visit http://www.durangofirerescue.org/prevention.html to fill out the online permit, or call 382-6023.
• Upper Pine Fire Protection District (for properties east of Bayfield north to Vallecito), call 884-9508;
• Fort Lewis Mesa Fire Protection District (for properties in west La Plata County surrounding Hesperus to the Colorado/New Mexico state line on Highway 140), call 238-0115; or
• Los Pinos Fire Protection District (for properties in the southeast corner of La Plata County and surrounding Ignacio), call 563-9501.
Immediately prior to any burn, residents should call Dispatch at 385-2900 (or 563-4401 for residents near Ignacio) so dispatchers will be able to relay information about the burn being conducted. Burn permits are not required for agricultural burns on land designated as agricultural by the Assessor’s Office. There is also no permit required for recreation fires which are defined as “an outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbeque grill or barbeque pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes." A 25 - foot setback from structures is required for recreational fires.
Although the fire restrictions have been lifted, residents are still urged to exercise caution when burning.
For information on fires on federal land go to: http://www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan