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Estes Park proposed ordinance would eliminate outdoor fires at rental homes

Estes Park sign
Posted at 3:54 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 17:54:51-04

ESTES PARK, Colo. — A proposed ordinance in Estes Park would restrict all outdoor fires at rental properties and bed and breakfasts in the mountain community.

The staff-proposed draft emergency ordinance was created to address the high number of fire calls at vacation rental homes in the Estes Valley, while also supporting fire mitigation.

Tourism in the Town of Estes Park provides a major boost to the economy, but outdoor fires at rental properties have become a danger to the community. The Estes Valley Fire Protection District reported that in the last five years, about 60% of structure fires in the valley happened at home rentals.

The proposed language would amend section 5.20.110 of the Estes Park Municipal Code to prohibit "solid fuel burning appliances located outside the fully contained portion of the residential structure on vacation home and bed and breakfast inn properties." This would apply to portable fire pits, portable outdoor fireplaces, outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, briquette or pellet burning grills and similar devices at short-term vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts within the town limits.

This only applies to when a home is rented out — not when the owner is on their own property. It also does not apply to gas-burning outdoor devices.

Estes Valley Fire Protection District Chief David Wolf said he supports this proposed ordinance.

“Estes Valley Fire strongly supports the proposed ordinance that would bring the Town of Estes Park into alignment with greater Larimer County, and our local Fire District on this highly consequential fire safety issue," he said.

The ordinance would align with regulations that are already in place in Larimer County, including unincorporated Estes Valley.

Solid fuel, which includes coal and wood, are already not allowed at short-term rentals in wildfire hazard areas of Larimer County, according to the county's land use code.

Anybody wanting to make a comment on this proposal can do so until July 12 at noon via the Town of Estes Park website here. Click the Town Board drop-down menu, then "Public Comment Form."

The ordinance will be discussed at the Estes Park Town Board's July 12 meeting at 7 p.m.

If it is adopted, it would take effect immediately. A code enforcer would issue a ticket to violators. A violation may also impact a property owner's business license to operate a vacation home or bed and breakfast if the problem is not addressed, which may require removing a fire pit.