BLM, state announce fire restrictions along riverways

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Utah State Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands (DFFSL) announced Tuesday that they are implementing fire restrictions on three major riverways in southeastern Utah. Agency officials said the restrictions are necessary because “hot and dry weather has dried vegetation and raised fire potential.”

The river corridors that will be under fire restriction include the Green River from Swasey Beach to Canyonlands National Park, the Colorado River from the Colorado/Utah border to Canyonlands National Park, and the San Juan River from Bluff to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, according to a news release from the BLM.

As a result of the restrictions, those camping and/or using public lands located along those river corridors are prohibited from setting, building, maintaining, attending or using open fire of any kind, including charcoal – unless otherwise authorized, and smoking except within an enclosed vehicle, camp trailer or building, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared to mineral soil on the area, roads, and trails.

The use or setting off any kind of fireworks, tracer ammunition or other incendiary devices is also prohibited on the riverways, and BLM officials said that those activities are always prohibited on federal lands. Users are also prohibited from operating a motorcycle, chainsaw, ATV, or other types of small engines without an approved and working spark arrester, BLM and DFFSL officials said.

The prohibition will remain in effect until it is rescinded by the BLM and DFFSL, according to the news release.

The order does not apply to those lands administered by the National Park Service and all other fire restrictions, or necessary exemptions to the restrictions, will be handled through local permits issued by the responsible agency for that purpose, according to the news release.

The fire restrictions will go into effect on Friday, July 2 at 12 a.m., officials said.

Additional information is available online at www.utahfireinfo.gov, or by calling Mike Benefield at 435-259-2191.