Fire restrictions in Douglas and Jefferson counties lifted, while wildfire still burns

County officials say weather has improved

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. - Douglas County is the most recent Colorado county to downgrade it's fire restrictions from stage two to stage one.

Effective Friday morning, Douglas County lifted the fire ban, moving to a stage one restriction. According to the press release, they are now under "Ordinance No. O-012-004, restricting open fires, open burning and the use of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Douglas County."

Lifting the ban allowed residents to have campfires within permanent fire pits inside campgrounds. With the devastation of the recent Black Forest wildfire and the hot weather, 7NEWS asked if the downgrade was appropriate.

Douglas County Emergency Management Director Tim Johnson explained the counties share a Fire Restriction Evaluation Guideline, which lists seven criteria to place a county on a restriction.

This list includes but is not limited to the moisture content in large trees, the fire danger rating, the number of available suppression resources and the number of recent human caused fires. Typically, a county would not impose a stage two restriction unless at least four of the criteria are meet. Johnson said as of Friday, one only was met and that was the amount of moisture content in large trees.

Despite the evaluation, with a wildfire burning in the Pike National Forest  was lifting the ban sending a mixed message?

"No, I don't think so. I think the fire we currently have burning in the forest it's a small fire. The Forest Service is handling that fire. That fire would have happened regardless of whether there were any restrictions at all," Johnson said. "We're staying in restrictions, we're not completely out of restrictions. We're in Stage 1 restrictions and therefore we're sending the message to the public that we're not free and clear of fire danger by any means."

Jefferson county, along with Pike and San Isabel National Forests also moved its stage two restriction to stage one.