Forget the model rockets, fireworks and other combustibles.

El Paso and Teller counties and Manitou Springs issued fire restrictions this week as dry conditions persist across the Pikes Peak region.

Sheriff Bill Elder ordered the El Paso County constraints Thursday "due to the continued dry conditions and the National Weather Service forecast for continued dry and warmer than normal weather resulting in very high to extreme fire danger ratings," a news release says.

Open burning is prohibited unless done inside permanent fire grates and in charcoal grills and wood-burning stoves where the area has been cleared of all flammable materials.

Also outlawed: selling or using fireworks and smoking outdoors except in a car, building or recreation site or other area cleared of all flammable materials within a 3-foot diameter.

Manitou Springs restrictions also were imposed Thursday, citing the dry conditions and a desire to "remain consistent with actions occurring with our regional partners."

The town is prohibiting open burning except in permanent fire rings in local RV and camping parks, charcoal grills, wood-burning fireplaces and in chimineas or fire pits with fitted screen covers and at least 15 feet of separation from structures or other combustible material.

But flames cannot exceed 3 feet in diameter or 2 feet in height.

Outdoor smoking also is banned except in enclosed buildings or structures and along Manitou Avenue. Discarding lighted cigarette, cigar or pipe tobacco products is prohibited too.

Teller County restrictions, imposed Wednesday, also ban open burning except in specific circumstances. Use of chainsaws and welders must be done with fire extinguishers on hand, and burning of irrigation ditches can only be done when essential for crop survival.

For more details on Teller County's clampdown, visit

Ellie is a general assignment reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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