by Tara Walker
On July 2, the Grand County Board of County Commissioners were unanimous in their decision to upgrade to stage 2 fire restrictions after hearing input from law enforcement officials, fire district chiefs, concerned citizens and representatives from the Forest Service and the Office of Emergency Management. Stage 2 fire restrictions will be in place, but Granby and Kremmling will be allowed to continue with their permitted Fireworks displays at their discretion.
The two fires that began on June 28 in Grand County were discussed. The 20-acre Grand Lake Golf Course Grand Lake golf course fire is 100% contained and the Sugarloaf fire is currently burning at 1200 acres south of Byers Peak Wilderness. Sheriff Schroetlin described the Grand Lake Fire as an intense fire that took a lot of resources from the county and the region and praised the firefighting coordination and efforts in the county.
Manguso also voiced her thanks for the handling of the Grand Lake Golf Course Fire. Manguso, ”We met today with Senator Cory Gardner and he expressed that they were happy with how the fire was handled and was appreciative. He said it could be a model for the state. It was handled efficiently and quickly.
“Based on current conditions, recent and current fires as well as the availability of resources, Schroetlin recommended upgrading to Stage 2 and all other officials present agreed. Sheriff Schroetlin, “The Grand Lake Fire shows that our county is prepared to handle these types of incidences, but we need to be prepared for the summer ahead as well. We know that our fire conditions are extremely dangerous and our resources are depleting due to the number of fires across the state.” Chief Tony Tucker from Kremmling Fire, “I think if the county was going to Stage 2, I don’t know why Kremmling wouldn’t want to do anything different and would go along with that and not have the fireworks. I don’t know that they’d want that responsibility.”
Commissioner Linke responded, “My concern is that sometimes people come here for a fireworks show from surrounding states and areas and if there is no fireworks show, they have a tendency to want to do their own, which in some cases would be more dangerous than when professionals do it with personnel on site.”
Manguso voiced that Grand Lake and Winter Park made their own decision and she would like to let Kremmling and Granby make their own decisions with local control. When questioned further, Chief Tucker and Assistant Chief Brad White agreed that they were very well prepared and ready for the professional fireworks displays should Granby and Kremmling decide to move forward with their fireworks displays. After discussion, it was agreed to move to Stage 2 Fire restrictions, but allow permitted professional fireworks to continue in Granby and Kremmling. The fire restrictions went into effect at 4pm on Monday, July 2 and will be in effect for 30 days, but could be subject to change based on reviews of current conditions.
The Stage 2 Fire Restrictions prohibit open fires/burning (including outdoor campfires, fire pits, chimineas, BBQ pits, charcoal BBQ grills, wood pellet grills and stoves), outdoor smoking, operating an internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device, the use of welding equipment or torches with open flames, and prohibits the possession, use and sale of fireworks.