Many popular camping counties have burn restrictions

What you need to know about campfire & bonfire laws this summer
KKTV 11 News this Morning
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 7:47 AM MDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 9:48 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - It is campfire and bonfire season, and many high country counties that attract campers have burn restrictions.

This map shows 25 Colorado counties with restrictions, highlighted in blue. Fire rules vary between counties and can change quickly, so click here to see the most up-to-date map.

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If you’re planning to camp this summer in the Pike and San Isabel national forests, they have their own fire rules. Current maps show no restrictions, but experts suggest campers check regularly before their trip.

Firefighters say a small campfire may seem harmless, but they want campers to think before igniting.

“Anytime you light a fire, you own the fire,” said El Paso County Deputy Fire Warden Kevin Junglen. “If [fire] escapes you are on the hook for that, there’s also jail time in fines.”

Anything larger than 3 feet in diameter and has flames taller than 2 feet is considered a bonfire in Colorado, and those require permits by law. To apply for a Colorado Springs permit, click here. If you live in unincorporated El Paso County, click here for the permit application.

Bonfires are required to be at least 50 feet from buildings and flammable materials. Firefighters say people should always use a professionally built fire ring for bonfires to avoid uncontrollable flames.

Junglen added, there have been issues this summer with people not following rules.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve had five that we’ve ran on, of people just not putting their fire out, they finish their fire and they leave, they don’t extinguish it.”

To make sure a fire is fully out, Junglen says to fill the fire ring with water, stir the contents, make sure no more heat is being put out, and then cover the remaining ashes with dirt.

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