Fires only allowed in campsites this weekend in the Uintas
National Forest restricts fires to purpose-built fire pits or grills
Campers looking to beat the heat in the Uinta Mountains this weekend might not have a campfire to keep them company after fire restrictions officials imposed this week.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, campfires and charcoal barbeques will only be allowed in purpose-built fire pits or grills at designated campgrounds in the national forest.
The U.S. Forest Service said that the restrictions were necessary to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires in the current drought conditions.
Officials did not ban the use of camp stoves that are fueled only by liquid petroleum fuels and that can be turned on and off.
The order also restricts smoking except within enclosed spaces like a vehicle or building, or while in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of flammable material.
Chad Hudson, the acting forest supervisor for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, issued the order on Tuesday afternoon. It is to run through September, but a forest spokesperson in a prepared statement announcing the order wrote that the restrictions typically remain in effect until the forest receives significant precipitation.
Violations of the order are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or $10,000 for an organization, and not more than six months in prison.
Law enforcement officials have said they would issue citations this year, rather than warnings, because of the historic drought conditions and high fire danger.
The order stops short of restricting the use of internal combustion engines without an approved spark arresting device, a 5-pound fire extinguisher and a shovel, as was imposed on the Ashley National Forest, which adjoins the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache.
The forest restricted fires the same day that Summit County announced it had moved to “extreme” fire danger, the highest of its five levels.
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The Summit County Fair returns this week.