A burn ban is in effect for Colorado Springs, city officials announced Monday.
The ban limits outdoor fire-related activities because of the elevated fire risk amid extremely dry weather conditions.
“We’re seeing unprecedented fire behavior and fire weather,” Colorado Springs Fire Chief Ted Collas said during a news conference Monday. “We haven’t had much moisture in the area. The moisture that we have had has been transient, it hasn’t soaked in to affect the vegetation much.”
The Colorado Springs Fire Department along with several other agencies decided to prohibit the following:
- Outdoor cooking in city-owned parks
- Outdoor fireplaces that use wood, charcoal or pellets
- Outdoor smoking in parks and open spaces
- Camp fires or recreational burning
- Small engine equipment without a spark arrestor (a device that prevents flammable debris)
- All recreational fireworks
Outdoor grills using gas or liquid fuel, fire places using those fuels, outdoor smoking in designated areas as well as welding, torching or blasting with a permit are allowed.
Violators could be fined up to $2,500, be sentenced to 189 days in jail, sentenced to probation, or a combination of all three. And fires caused by disobeying the order could be investigated as a misdemeanor or felony crime according to state law, officials said.
El Paso County on Monday also elevated its fire restrictions -- from stage one to stage two.
Stage two fire restrictions prohibit camp fires, charcoal and wood stoves, fireworks, explosives, outdoor welding, and outdoor smoking except within a vehicle or building.
A violation of the county's fire ban could lead up to a $1,000 fine.