Each of us plays a role in preventing a wildfire. It's important to understand wildfire prevention strategies related to camping, campfires, driving, outdoor equipment use, smoking, shooting and more.
Wildfire Prevention Solstice Party
Kick off summer with friends and neighbors and learn about wildfire mitigation strategies to protect your home, your family and our natural resources.
- What: Live music, Smokey Bear, wildfire education booths, food trucks, bounce house, face painting, fire trucks, corn hole.
- When: 5-7 p.m., Thursday, June 21
- Where: Silverthorne Pavilion, 400 Blue River Pkwy.
Summit County Fire Restrictions
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are currently in effect in Summit County. For a list of prohibited activities and uses, view the resolution (pdf) passed by the Board of County Commissioners on June 12, 2018. View statewide fire restriction and fire danger information across Colorado.
Wildfire Prevention Strategies
Summit County, in partnership with local towns and the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest, is using a variety of strategies to prevent wildfire. Join us in our efforts by reviewing the info below and taking appropriate action. Help us stop a wildfire before it starts.
Campfire Safety to Prevent Wildfire
- Check: Find out if local fire restrictions are in place: Fire restrictions may allow campfires only in developed campgrounds, inside permanent fire pits or fire grates. Depending on fire risk conditions, restrictions may prohibit campfires altogether.
- Build: If campfires are permitted, select a level, open site, away from logs, trees and brush. Clear grass, leaves and needles within 5 feet of the fire's edge. Scoop a depression at the center of the cleared area, and set ring of rocks around the depression.
- Burn: Keep the fire small, and always have a shovel and bucket of water nearby. A responsible adult should monitor the fire until it is completely out. Unattended campfires are one of the most common causes of human-caused wildfires.
- Out: Drown the fire with water, and stir with a shovel to wet all ash and coals. Feel them with the back of your hand – they should be cool to the touch. Move some dirt onto the fire site and mix thoroughly to create a cool, wet "soup."
Vehicle Safety to Prevent Wildfire
- Maintain: Ensure that no parts (e.g., tow chains, exhaust pipes) are dragging. Keep tires properly inflated. Maintain brakes – metal-to-metal contact may throw sparks.
- Steer Clear: Don't park or drive over dry grasses or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires you can't see. Be sure ATVs have spark arresters.
- Prepare: Carry a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and know how to use it.
Smoking Safety to Prevent Wildfire
- Check: Find out if local restrictions are in place. Smoking may be prohibited anywhere outside an enclosed vehicle or building.
- Out: Extinguish and cool cigarettes completely before discarding. Never throw cigarettes or other smoking materials on the ground or from vehicles. When outdoors, discard cigarettes and ashes in an unburnable can filled with sand.
Shooting Safety to Prevent Wildfire
- Clear: Remove dry grasses and other flammable materials from around your target.
- Use Safe Targets: Don't shoot at steel or rocks; they may throw sparks into nearby vegetation. Use paper targets or clay pigeons.
- Prepare: Keep a shovel, fire extinguisher and water on hand in case a fire does start.
- Call: If a fire does start, call 911 right away – any delay could be disastrous.
Equipment Safety to Prevent Wildfire
- Mowing: Mow before 10 a.m., but never when it's windy or excessively dry. Lawn mowers are designed to mow lawns, not weeds or dry grass. Metal blades striking rocks can create sparks and start fires.
- Spark Arresters: In wildland areas, spark arresters are required on all portable gasoline-powered equipment. This includes tractors, chainsaws, harvesters, weedeaters and mowers.
- Maintenance: Keep exhaust systems, spark arresters and all equipment in working order and free of carbon buildup.
- Equipment Use:
- Use the recommended grade of fuel, and don't top it off.
- Keep a shovel and fire extinguisher ready to use.
- In wildland areas, grinding and welding operations require a permit and 10 feet of clearance.
- Don't drive vehicles onto dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires that you won't see until it's too late.
- Keep a cell phone or radio nearby and call 911 immediately in case of fire. Delays can have devastating results.
Debris Burning Safety to Prevent Wildfire
- How: Don't burn unless weather conditions (especially wind) are such that burning can be considered safe. Keep a water supply and shovel close to the burning site. A responsible adult is required by law to be in attendance until the fire is completely out. Landscape debris piles must be in small 4-feet-by-4-feet piles. Clear all flammable material and vegetation within 10 feet of the outer edge of the pile.
- What: Do not burn garbage or household trash outdoors at residences. Dry, natural vegetation grown on the property may be burned outdoors in open piles, with a permit.
- When: Don't burn if it is windy or if surrounding vegetation is very dry. Obey all local and state laws and restrictions.
- Permit: In Summit County, a permit is always required to burn slash or forest debris. For information on obtaining a permit, applicants must contact Summit County Environmental Health and their local fire district (Summit Fire & EMS or Red, White & Blue Fire).
- Air Quality: Visit Summit County Environmental Health for guidelines on minimizing air quality impacts from smoke emissions.
Wildfire Prevention Patrol
Summit County has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service, local towns and local fire districts to conduct wildfire prevention patrols. A four-person U.S. Forest Service crew is patrolling the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest throughout the summer.
The crew will conduct campsite monitoring, visitor contacts and fire-prevention messaging throughout the Dillon Ranger District, which is located entirely within Summit County. Crew members inform visitors about U.S. Forest Service and Summit County regulations that protect natural resources and prevent wildfires. Contact with individuals in undeveloped, dispersed campsites is the top priority. In addition to the USFS crew, personnel from the Summit County Sheriff's Office will also conduct fire-prevention patrol work.
The combined effort is being funded by a coalition of local government agencies. Summit County is contributing $86,000 and in-kind services; the local towns and fire districts are contributing an additional $50,000. The Forest Service is providing training, supervision, housing, vehicles and equipment for the USFS crew. Summit County is also conducting public education and outreach on wildfire prevention.
Learn more about Summit County's wildfire prevention patrol.