‘Level 1’ fire ban in effect

The fire danger sign outside of the Torrington Fire Department building on Wednesday. Cynthia Sheeley/Torrington Telegram

GOSHEN COUNTY – Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law enacted a “Level 1” fire ban on Tuesday, July 18. The change in the current fire ban status was impacted by the recent dryer conditions affecting Goshen County. 

“When we met last week, I told you that we’ll be continuing to monitor,” Law told the commissioners Tuesday. “Last week I took a tour all the way down to the southeast corner and up to the northwest corner of the county. I am continuing to be amazed at how green we still are, but between the grass and the cheatgrass it is time [to introduce a ban].”

“Over the next week or so, we will probably continue to see conditions dry out,” he continued. 

The weather conditions this summer have been mild and wet over the last several months. This extra amount of moisture has led to the grass staying green longer than usual. Over the last several years, it has been normal to be in a complete fire ban by this time if not earlier in the summer. 

While this moisture has blessed the county with lower than normal fire risks for this time of year, it does not make it impossible. As the month of July has gone on, the weather has trended warmer and dryer, making the sheet grass and other weeds begin to dry out more. 

A “Level 1” fire ban is enacted not to completely ban all forms of burning, but rather to reduce some of the risks of a fire getting out of hand. 

“We live in an agricultural area so there’s still agricultural burning that is allowed,” Law said. “Under a ‘Level 1,’ people can still have fires, there’s caution against it.”

According to the fire ban notice, “During a ‘Level 1’ fire ban the following exemptions are allowed on private property as long as you follow certain guidelines: campfires contained within an established fire ring; the use of charcoal and gas grills; use of acetylene cutting torches or electric welders in cleared areas 10 feet in radius. Driving and parking in weeds and tall grass should be avoided. While controlled burns are allowed, they are not recommended.”

“[With this restriction], a control burn needs you to be on-site to control it and you need to notify the police department dispatch center when you start the fire and when it’s out,” Law explained. “The reason we stress notifying when it’s out is when they do leave the scene properly, it doesn’t mean the wind doesn’t pick up and reignite the fire. So, we want them to know at the dispatch center that it’s been abandoned.”

Anyone doing a planned burn is required to report it to the Torrington Dispatch Center by calling 307-532-7001 prior to and once completed.

You can call the fire warden’s office at 307-532-7952 or call Bill’s cell phone at 307-532-0305 for any questions.