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Springs institutes fire bans in face of dangerous fire season 

click to enlarge The 416 Fire north of Durango grew significantly in size this past weekend. - JERRY MCBRIDE / DURANGOHERALD
  • Jerry McBride / DurangoHerald
  • The 416 Fire north of Durango grew significantly in size this past weekend.

As the 416 Fire devastates the area north of Durango, leading officials to close the San Juan National Forest, hot, dry weather in the Pikes Peak region has triggered widespread fire restrictions.

The City of Colorado Springs has instituted a burn restriction order, banning open fires; some small, internal combustion engines; fireworks; and outdoor smoking in all city parks and open spaces. In Teller and El Paso counties and Manitou Springs, Stage 2 restrictions have been imposed, prohibiting campfires, use or sale of fireworks, outdoor smoking except within a vehicle or building, outdoor cooking and fires on private property (propane grills are allowed).

As well, the U.S. Forest Service joined those jurisdictions on June 7 by imposing similar restrictions on public lands located in the South Platte Ranger District. Those areas include Pikes Peak, South Park, South Platte, San Carlos and Salida Ranger Districts. Those districts lie within the following counties: Chaffee, Clear Creek, Custer, Douglas, El Paso, Fremont, Huerfano, Jefferson, Las Animas, Park, Pueblo, Saguache and Teller.

"The fire danger is very high across much of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests," the Forest Service said in a release. "Unless these federal public lands receive significant moisture soon, we will experience a high potential for large wildfires."

One exception to the ban is campfires in Forest Service-developed campgrounds and picnic grounds, but only in manufactured fire grates and grills provided by the Forest Service. Also, petroleum fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices are allowed on all National Forest System lands, provided such devices meet the Underwriters Laboratories specifications for safety.

For more information on specific restrictions: fs.usda.gov/psicc.

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