Colorado is at the height of wildfire season, and currently grappling with four fires across the state – the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon, the Pine Gulch Fire near Grand Junction, the Williams Fork Fire in Grand County, and the Cameron Peak Fire near Redfeather Lakes.
These wildfires are placing further strain on our state at a time when we are already battling a similarly fierce and deadly foe. They are imposing yet another challenge on our local communities and our already-strained public health resources and testing capacity, as critical first responders are diverted and require extensive testing. Additionally, people are understandably and rightfully getting tested because poor air quality can cause COVID-like symptoms.
The Governor is asking all Coloradans to be extra diligent about fire safety right now, given the simultaneous burden and threat of COVID-19. Colorado is hot and dry, and something as small as a cigarette butt or a spark from a vehicle can start a fire – not to mention sources like campfires or fireworks. For those of you living in the wildland-urban interface, take the time to mitigate the threat of fire danger on your property.
Given what’s at stake, the Governor will be issuing a 30-day statewide ban on open fires, which goes into effect August 20. Three of the four fires we are currently fighting are believed to be caused by human activity. We need to do everything we can to prevent new fires from starting. The ban will be in effect for all counties and prohibit all campfires, fireworks, and other open sources of ignition. Home barbecues, public grills, camp stoves, and approved covered fire pits will be permissible.