Boulder County enacts fire ban

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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Media Contact

Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500

Boulder County enacts fire ban

Warm winter temperatures and low moisture have increased the fire danger

Boulder County, Colo. - This morning, just after 10:30 a.m., Sheriff Joe Pelle enacted a fire ban for western Boulder County due to warm winter temperatures and low moisture, which has resulted in an increased fire danger. The fire ban is effective immediately.

The fire ban includes the mountain areas of Boulder County. The mountain areas include any and all unincorporated areas of the county:

  • West of CO Highway 93 (CO-93), from its intersection with the southern boundary of Boulder County until, and including, its intersection with CO Highway 119 (CO-119);
  • West of Broadway Avenue in the City of Boulder, from its intersection with CO-119 until, and including, its intersection with US Highway 36 (US-36);
  • West of US-36, from its intersection with Broadway Avenue until its intersection with the northern boundary of Boulder County;
  • West of the western boundary of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space until, and including, US-36; and
  • All of the Rabbit Mountain Open Space property.

A map depicting the areas of Boulder County affected by the burn ban is included below.

The fire ban PROHIBITS:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using an open fire, campfire, or stove fire (including charcoal barbeques and grills);
  2. Fireworks sales, use, and possession, including permissible fireworks;
  3. Shooting or discharging firearms for recreational purposes, except for hunting with a valid and current hunting license;
  4. Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials;
  5. Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE-approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order. A chemical, pressurized fire-extinguisher must be kept with the operator, and at least one round-point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches must be readily available for use;
  6. Welding or operating an acetylene or other open-flame torch, except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter, and with a chemical, pressurized fire-extinguisher immediately available for use; and
  7. Using an explosive.

The fire ban ALLOWS:

  1. Building, maintain, attending or using a fire in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates, within developed recreation sites, and on private lands;
  2. The use of portable stoves; lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel; or a fully enclosed (sheepherder-type) stove with a 1/4" spark arrester-type screen.

The fire ban does not affect open fires within incorporated cities and towns; however, citizens must comply with applicable ordinances and regulations in their respective cities and towns. The fire ban will be in effect until Sheriff Pelle finds that the hazardous conditions have subsided.

The following developed United States Forest Service (USFS) recreation sites are located within Boulder County and are exempted from the fire ban, in accordance with USFS policies and closures, when open and staffed: Kelly Dahl Campground, Rainbow Lakes Campground, Camp Dick Campground, Peacefully Valley Campground, Meeker Park Overflow Campground, Olive Ridge Campground, and the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, which includes the Pawnee Campground.

For current fire, shooting, and developed recreation site restrictions and seasonal closures for USFS properties, visit

State statutes authorize counties to impose a fire ban "to a degree and in a manner that the Board of County Commissioners deems necessary to reduce the danger of wildfires within those portions of the unincorporated areas of the county where the danger of forest or grass fires is found to be high based on competent evidence." Due to the higher temperatures and lack of moisture, the current fire conditions in Boulder County have moved above historical averages. The fire ban was enacted in response to this change in potential wildfire threat.

Anyone found in violation of the fire ban may be convicted of a class two petty offense, and may be subject to a $500 fine, in addition to any possible civil penalties. Higher fines may be imposed for subsequent offenses.

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