Summer festivities on back burner with fire ban

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Dry air, low moisture and hot temperatures make conditions ripe for wildfires. Now the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and Bureau of Land Management are implementing mandatory fire restrictions for Mesa County, beginning at 12:00 a.m.

On the list of prohibited activities are personal fireworks and with firework stands beginning to pop up for Independence Day, businesses and celebrations may be put on the back burner.

Pastor Paul Labig just opened his fireworks fundraiser stand yesterday, to raise money for youth programs at his church and is concerned about the new fire bans.

“It’ll definitely have a negative effect on how people feel comfortable buying the fireworks or not and what they'll be able to do with them," said Paul Labig Assistant Pastor at Church on the Rock.

Fireworks will not be the only recreational activity affected. County officials say campers need be to be wary as well.

“Open burning of any kind is prohibited at this time; personal use of fireworks is prohibited. On federal lands it's more restrictive yet. You're restricted to campfires only in designated campsites with fire rings," said Andy Martsolf Mesa County Emergency Manager.

However, not all outdoor activities are being put out.

“Currently it is permitted to have your backyard BBQ, and a propane grill or a charcoal grill. It's ok to burn your tiki torches and it's okay to have a fire in your chimney in the urbanized area," said Martsolf.

For now, Pastor Paul understands the importance of the Mesa County's fire bans, but wishes the timing could have been different.

“Understanding that they need to do the fireworks ban at times, it would be nice if they had put it in place a little bit sooner, but that would be good," said Labig.

Officials say if you are going camping to be aware of where you are at; if you are on BLM or Forest Service and know the restrictions that apply to those lands. Officials say we are in a high fire danger situation and to be aware of fire and the potential causes of human caused fire.

Causing a fire during fire restrictions is a class six felony and is punishable by fines up to $100,000 dollars and jail time.

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