USA — JEFFERSON COUNTY – Authorities ordered a federal burn ban throughout the state of Colorado on Friday.
The announcement was made by the U.S Forest Service and it comes just two days after Gov. John Hickenlooper banned state agencies from prescribed burns on state land.
It’s a measure that includes more than 14 million acres of forest. State and federal officials say they don’t want to take any chances of burning things in these extremely dry conditions.
On Wednesday, the governor called for an investigation into what went wrong after a prescribed burn by the Colorado State Forest Service sparked the massive Lower North Fork Fire that burned more than 4,100 acres, destroyed or damaged 27 homes and killed at least two people.
Until that report is complete, both Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) agree with the state and federal burn bans.
“When we know what caused this clearly the state can look at its procedures and say, ‘What do we need to change in our procedures so this doesn’t happen again?'” Coffman said.
Both Bennet and Coffman toured the Lower North Fork Fire burn area on Friday. They met with families and spoke on the need to understand what caused the fire.
“What we gotta do is get this fire put out and then we ought to reassess everything and make sure the risk of something like this is as low as possible,” Bennet said.
Friday afternoon, Jefferson County issued a fire man on all unincorporated areas of the county. The ban includes things like provisions on smoking outside, trash fires, charcoal fires and the use of chains saws.
US Forest Service officials say the federal ban will be in place for about two weeks unless the state sees a significant amount of precipitation.