Vail is gearing up for a week of Fourth of July festivities in the midst of a record heat wave and stringent Stage 2 fire restrictions across the surrounding White River National Forest.
Fireworks are never legal on public lands, but now most forms of open burning such as campfires are also prohibited (see full press release below).
On Friday, Vail joined Avon, Beaver Creek and Gypsum in cancelling all the scheduled fireworks displays during the coming week. Go to the Town of Vail website for more information.
Ongoing drought conditions have made the state’s national forests extremely dry and prone to massive wildfires, and not only are the public lands at risk, but communities surrounded by national forests and BLM land are also in the crosshairs.
This year’s theme of the annual Vail America Days celebration is “The Great Outdoors”.
State Sen. Kerry Donovan, a former Vail Town Council member and the state lawmaker who brought Colorado the nation’s first “Public Lands Day”, offered the following thoughts for the upcoming week:
“I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a small, tightly-knit town that was founded and built by families who loved the mountains so much, we decided to call them home.
“Being raised by a grandfather who was a 10th Mountain Vet and parents who were public servants, I’ve always felt the 4th of July is the most special day of the year. The theme for this year’s Vail America Days™ Parade is The Great Outdoors – I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than the coming together of our American spirit and liberty with our Colorado way of life here in Vail.
“The idea of public lands was created in America and there are few better illustrations of democracy than lands that belong to all of us – no matter your creed or color. This Independence Day, take a moment to soak in just how truly fortunate we are to call Colorado public lands our backyard, our home, and our heart. I know I will. Happy 4th of July!”
Go to the Vail America Days website for a full schedule of events, including the annual Vail Lacrosse Shootout.
And here’s the Stage 2 fire restriction announcement from the White River National Forest:
Stage 2 Fire restrictions begin Friday, June 29 on the White River National Forest
Glenwood Springs, Colo. – Stage 2 fire restrictions begin at 8:00 a.m. Friday, June 29 for the entire White River National Forest. This order supersedes previous Stage 1 fire restrictions and is being imposed due to continuing high to extreme fire hazard conditions. Also effective today, Bureau of Land Management administered lands in Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin and Summit counties are under Stage 2 fire restrictions.
Fire managers base decisions about fire restrictions on specific moisture measurements in vegetation and other risk factors such as predicted weather and amount of current fire activity.
The White River National Forest will be enforcing the following temporary restrictions:
Fireworks are always prohibited on BLM, National Forest and National Park Service lands.
“We are urging people to use extreme caution out there and be diligent in preventing any fires on the forest during the upcoming 4th of July holiday week.” said Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor for the White River National Forest. “Conditions are extremely dry and the weather outlook shows continued hot, dry windy conditions to come. We appreciate the public’s cooperation as we all work together to prevent human-caused wildfires. ”
Fire restrictions on these lands will be in place until further notice. Those found responsible for starting wildfires will also face restitution costs of suppressing the fire.
For more information about fire restrictions, go to: https://gacc.nifc.gov/rmcc/dispatch_centers/r2gjc/fireinfo_restrictions/index.html