Many precautions are being taken to prevent Colorado from being hit with any major wildfires this year. Campfires are allowed in most of the in-state national forests, but fireworks are still banned.
With July 4th just over a week away, Forest Service officials are doing what they can to get the word out. The backcountry is expected to be a popular spot over the upcoming holiday weekend. While there are no longer fire bans in place in most of the National Forests, officials want to make sure visitors know fireworks are still off-limits.
Also, the closer it's gets to the Fourth of July, the more patrols you'll see in the National Forest. Law enforcement officer Ken Archuleta says, although we've gotten a lot of moisture lately, we're still not out of the woods. "We're gonna have all of our available enforcement, employees patrolling the areas we know are popular for camping and recreation."
And they'll be looking for fireworks. Archuleta says there's a zero tolerance policy in the National Forest, making it illegal to set off fireworks or even possess them. "The problem is a lot of the folks who live in the big cities, like Denver and Colorado Springs, are taking vacations and going into more rural areas. They've experienced quite a bit of moisture, but as you go west and you go to the southwest areas, it's still really dry."
That's why Forest Service employees are taking extra precautions to make sure all visitors know the rules. Signs will be posted at every National Forest entrance.
Penalties for getting caught with fireworks in the National Forest can range anywhere from confiscation to federal imprisonment. Even smaller fireworks that aren't set off into the air, like sparklers and smoke bombs, are prohibited in the national forest.