Fire Ban Info

6/25/2012

Press Release

For Immediate Release 

Yuma County Sheriff, Chad Day has been asked a number of times about the statewide fire ban that the Governor ordered recently.  Interestingly, at the time the executive order was issued, 57 of the 64 counties in Colorado had already enacted their own fire ban of some sort.

To the knowledge of current Yuma County Staff, Yuma County has never enacted its own fire ban and currently is only under the statewide ban.  While there is a very clear understanding of the current fire danger due to dry conditions, citizens here are generally given the responsibility to make wise choices on  their own by Yuma County’s local authorities.

To find the actual wording of the ban, go to colorado.gov and it can be found on the Governor’s web page.

This ban specifies that open burning is prohibited except for the following:  (liquid or gas grills, (charcoal grills on private property, (fireplaces within buildings, (constructed permanent fire pits, (commercial, professional, or municipal fireworks displays where specific authorization by the Sheriff has been given in writing prior to the display, and (prescribed or controlled burns for agricultural purposes where the Sheriff has given written approval.

It goes on to spell out that anyone who takes advantage of these exceptions accepts civil liabilities for any resulting wildfire/grassfire.  These civil liabilities exist even in times where there is no ban, but this ban also indicates that the State of Colorado will “likely deny” access to state funds for the purpose of fighting such a fire.

“While everyone can see that our current conditions are very dry and extreme precautions should be taken when doing anything that could cause a spark or ignite a fire, I am a law enforcement professional, not a trained firefighter” remarked Sheriff Day. “Although State Statute assigns me the title of County Fire Warden, I rely on trained firefighters to make wise fire safety and firefighting decisions.”  “That’s what I need to do in this situation; let the firefighters make the best decision.”

At the time of this press release, the only fire agency and municipality that has requested authorization according to the ban for a fireworks show is the Yuma Fire Department and the City of Yuma.

Sheriff Day has authorized  Chief Smith, of the Yuma Fire Department to exercise his best discretion as to whether or not they can safely conduct the show on July 3rd, given the current fire danger. 

Sheriff Day did ask Chief Smith to prepare written wildfire/grassfire mitigation plans to include planned staffing and equipment numbers, as well as safe weather condition parameters that must exist for that event, and the method used to measure those conditions.  The Chief did provide that document and is prepared to make the appropriate decision on the night of July 3rd.

This authorization only applies to the Yuma municipal show conducted by the Yuma Fire Department at this time.  Any fireworks/firecrackers ignited by private citizens anywhere in this state are illegal at this time.  Law enforcement is being encouraged to pursue Arson charges.

 End of Release