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High fire danger affects much of Front Range

(Courtesy graphic)

(Courtesy graphic)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Colorado Springs is located in a high desert plain, and despite the snowfall received it is a dry climate. A dry and windy spring has exacerbated the conditions and led to a high fire danger across the Front Range, with periodic burn bans and restrictions.

The fire marshal has the authority to enact a burn restriction or burn ban for the city of Colorado Springs. Criteria used to determine when these conditions are initiated include weather, fuel moistures, local and regional fire activity and national preparedness levels (which influences suppression aircraft availability). These elements are closely monitored by the wildfire mitigation administrator and fire marshal. When predetermined criteria are met the appropriate condition is implemented. Immediate public notifications are made to the media through press releases and on the city web site. The related chart outlines what is allowed during burn restrictions and burn bans.

Burn Restriction and Burn Ban Penalties:

Persons failing to comply with a burn restriction or burn ban shall be punished in accordance with the general penalty of the Code of the City of Colorado Springs. A careless fire that threatens or damages property is fourth degree arson and shall be prosecuted as such.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Can city residents burn leaves or trash outdoors? No this is an illegal activity. Violations should be reported to the CSFD Division of the Fire Marshal at 385-5978.
  2. Is burning trash in a fireplace allowed in the city? No, this is an air quality issue and violations should be reported to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at (303) 692-3100.

Other restrictions, guidelines:

Bonfires:

A bonfire is an outdoor fire used for ceremonial purposes as outlined in the 2009 International Fire Code. All bonfires require a permit from the Division of the Fire Marshal. They must not have a total fuel area greater than eight feet in diameter and must be less than six feet in height. Permitted bonfires must be at least 50 feet away from a structure or combustible materials and must not at any point move any closer to the structure than the stated 50 foot distance.

Open Burning:

Open burning is not allowed within the city of Colorado Springs. Examples of fires that are classified as open burning are ditch burning, fires used for forestry purposes, range or wildlife management, the prevention and or control of disease or pests.

Only city, county, state and federal agencies with an approved prescribed burn plan and hazardous activity permit are allowed to conduct this type of activity.

Recreational Fires:

Recreational fires are allowed within the city of Colorado Springs in accordance with the guidelines outlined below and in the absence of a burn restriction or burn ban. A recreational fire is an outdoor fire where materials other than rubbish are being burned and it is not contained in a permanent fixture (incinerator, outdoor fireplace, BBQ grill). The 2009 International Fire Code defines these fires as being intended for cooking, warmth, religious, ceremonial or other special purposes. They must not have a total fuel area greater than three feet in diameter and must be less than two feet in height.

This type of fire must be at least 25 feet away from a structure or combustible materials and must not at any point move any closer to the structure than the stated 25 foot distance.

Outdoor fires in a permanent fixture (such as BBQs and gas-fueled fire pits) must be at least 10 feet away from a structure or combustible materials. Portable, manufactured outdoor fireplaces must be at least 15 feet away from a structure or combustible materials except for one- and two-family dwellings.

Consumer Fireworks:

All types of fireworks with a fuse and or requiring a flame for ignition are illegal in Colorado Springs. Only novelty items (snappers and poppers) are allowed. A fire started by fireworks that threatens or damages property is a crime of arson. Possession, use and or the sale of fireworks is subject to a fine up to and including $500 and or up to 90 days in jail. Professional public and private firework displays are regulated, permitted and approved on a case-by-case basis by the Division of the Fire Marshal under city code 1.1.201-General Penalties.

If there is any doubt, err on the side of caution and refrain from outdoor activities that may lead to devastating fires.

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