Cripple Creek Ends Fire Ban In Preparation for Tourist Season

Rick Langenberg

The city of Cripple Creek is the latest municipality to end the Stage Two fire ban, citing a definite change in conditions.

Similar actions are expected or have already ensued by other municipalities in the region.

The timing of this action comes as southern Teller nears the beginning of its tourism season. Fire restrictions, especially, the banning of charcoal grills, aren’t very popular this time of year as many outdoor cookouts take place.

But like the leaders in Teller County, city emergency service officials are stressing caution. “It is still dry,” said Cripple Creek Fire Chief Joe O’Conor. At the same time, the fire chief, noted, “We don’t need to have the burn ban at this time.”

He mentioned the beginning of tourism season, with many campers enjoying the use of charcoal grills.

However, O’Conor noted that it wouldn’t take much for dangerous conditions to resume with the continual windy weather and dry spells that persist this time of year. The area in the last week has reaped the benefits of summer weather, but has been riddled by red flag warnings. O’Conor is predicting an active fire season and is urging residents to take precautionary steps.

The original move to rescind the burn ban was made recently by the Teller County commissioners, action that occurred from a series of small snow blasts that struck the area.

A Stage Two ban had been in place since the 403 blaze in late March, causing the evacuations of several subdivisions near the Teller/Park County border.

Since the end of the ban, sheriff officials say their agency has received a flurry of requests for burn permits. At the same time, some callers have expressed concerns about the  county’s decision.

At a previous meeting, Commissioner Dan Williams had a firm message for area property owners:  Enjoy the current reprieve from restrictions and mitigate your property.

Teller County has experienced fire restrictions almost on an annual basis.