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Publish Date: 8/19/2005

County ends ban on fires


BOULDER — County commissioners lifted a month-old fire ban for the mountains in Boulder County on Thursday following a streak of cooler temperatures.

Emergency crews may still face wildfires this year — and in fact did Thursday afternoon — but they are better equipped to deal with them than they were during July’s heat wave, county emergency management director Jim Raymond said.

“It doesn’t mean the fire danger is low. It means it’s manageable now,” he said. “You don’t have to look hard in Boulder County to find fires that started in September or October.”

Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, lightning struck at the Table Mountain Field Site, causing a 30-acre burn. Four area fire crews contained the grass fire within two and a half hours.

According to Jay Stalnacker, emergency services coordinator for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, the presence of a dirt road helped to slow the spread of the fire before any research facilities were threatened.

Table Mountain is located a half-mile east of U.S. Highway 36, the eastern border of the zone included in the fire ban.

The commissioners enacted the ban July 19 after emergency crews fought three wildfires in a week and faced days of 90-degree-plus temperatures.

The restrictions prohibited open fires and fireworks in areas west of Boulder and Lyons.

Deputies told several campers to put out their fires in recent weeks but tried to be reasonable when deciding whether to issue tickets, Sheriff Joe Pelle said.

“A lot of times, people are unaware and willing to comply,” Pelle said.

Ben Ready can be reached at 303-684-5326, or by e-mail at bready@times-call.com.

Brad Turner can be reached at 720-494-5420, or by e-mail at bturner@times-call.com.

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