This is the time of year that many start agricultural burns. It doesn’t take long for fire danger to increase once snow begins to melt. Combine that with warm, windy conditions, and brush and grass dry out quickly. That’s according to the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit, who says a wind-whipped fire in quick-burning, dormant vegetation can cause a burn to easily become uncontrollable. Federal and state land management agencies say individuals should obtain weather forecasts from the National Weather Service before igniting any controlled burn. Fire has been used as a land management tool for generations. It’s used to clear land of debris and excess plant material, promote grass regeneration and replenish nutrients to the soil. While spring offers optimal burn conditions, dead vegetation can carry fire through green plants and pose control issues especially on windy days. The agency offers tips to provide a safer environment for debris and agricultural burning. You can view those tips below.
- Contact your local county sheriff’s office before burning and obtain required burn permits if required
- Call the National Weather Service at 970-243-7007 and get the predicted weather conditions for your burn day
- Don’t burn on windy days
- Notify your neighbors of your plans to burn as a matter of safety and courtesy
- Ready water and equipment – have a reliable water source and have shovels, rakes and equipment on hand
- Establish fire breaks – create fire lines by digging to bare dirt and removing flammable material
- Try to burn into the wind as this will slow the rate of spread and makes the fire easier to manage
- Stay with the fire at all times – NEVER leave a fire unattended
- Have plenty of help – more people more control
- Ensure the fire is out cold before leaving the area, smoldering embers have ignited unattended fires
- Call 911 if fire burns out of control – the longer you wait the bigger the fire becomes before help arrives
Remember: Your fire is your responsibility
Should an agricultural or debris fire damage other private, state or federally managed lands, you could receive a fine or be held responsible for the cost of the damage and impacts.