Pueblo County fire ban prohibits all fires, smoking in park, wildlife areas

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is alerting visitors to its wildlife areas and Lake Pueblo State Park in Pueblo County that fire restrictions enacted by the sheriff apply on state-controlled areas.

High winds and low humidity have created dangerous conditions for wildfires in the region leading Pueblo County to enact Stage 2 fire restrictions.

Sheriff Kirk Taylor announced the fire restrictions Monday after consulting with area fire chiefs.  

“This is not a decision taken lightly,” Taylor said in a news release. “But with the extreme level of the drought conditions and lack of moisture, the responsible and safe thing to do is to impose Stage 2 restrictions right now.”

Specifically, the sheriff’s order bans:

  • All open fire & open burning.

  • Campfires, warming fires, candles or torches and charcoal fires regardless of whether they are in fire pits or fire rings. Propane grills are allowed.

  • Outdoor smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building. Smoking is not allowed in state buildings.

  • Sale and use of fireworks.

The Stage II Restrictions shall remain in effect until further notice by the sheriff’s office.

The restrictions apply in all unincorporated areas of Pueblo County including Lake Pueblo State Park, as well as three state wildlife areas covering nearly 8,000 acres. The state wildlife areas are Pueblo Reservoir with 7,839 acres, Lake Beckwith near Colorado City with 55 acres and Runyon-Fountain near Pueblo with 88 acres.

The fire restrictions come as campers and outdoor enthusiasts are making plans for the long July 4 Independence Day national holiday. It will especially impact Lake Pueblo, where large crowds are expect at the most-visited state park in Colorado.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife totally supports the fire restrictions enacted by the county as a prudent action to protect against any more wildfires,” said Dan Prenzlow, CPW’s Southeast Region manager. “Our wildlife officers will be watching our wildlife areas to ensure compliance with the county restrictions.”

That message was echoed by Monique Mullis, park manager responsible for overseeing the 400 campsites and 348 picnic tables and grills at the 10,000-acre park, which features 60 miles of shoreline, two marinas and Rock Canyon Swim Beach.

“The fire restrictions might disappoint some of our guests, but it is imperative we avoid any more dangerous wildfires like those we’ve seen recently in Southern Colorado,” Mullis said.

She said park rangers would actively enforce the fire restrictions, working in conjunction with county authorities.

Violations of fire restrictions can result in fines up to $1,000.

Pueblo County joined several other regional counties, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service in implementing Stage 2 restrictions.

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For more information on current fire restrictions and bans, visit the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control website: colorado.gov/pacific/dfpc/fire-bans-and-restrictions.