Fires on Ruby-Horsethief - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-26-2019   #1
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 44
Fires on Ruby-Horsethief

Hello all!

With the wet spring the fuels are thick in Ruby-Horsethief. Things are starting to dry out. Because of this, Starting July 1st there will be no fires allowed between Loma, CO and the Utah border. This includes the use of charcoal. Cook stoves are fine but whatever you are using needs to have an on/off switch. Please give me a call if you have any questions 970-244-3000.

The following acts are prohibited:
Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire except within a developed recreation site, or improved site. 36 CFR 261.52(a).

Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials. 36 CFR 261.52(d).

No operation welding, acetylene, or other torch with an open flame.
Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark-arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order meeting either the USDA Forest Service Standard 5100-1a (as amended), or appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) recommended practice J335(b) and J350(a) (36 CFR 261.52(j)).

The following actions are permitted: petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, or heating devices providing such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specification for safety.

What does this mean?
• Campsites on the Ruby-Horsethief (Loma, CO to the Utah Border) section of the Colorado River are not a developed recreation site or a developed campground, fires are not permitted.
• This includes the use of charcoal. No charcoal is allowed.
• You may still use your cooking stove equipped with an on-off switch.
• Please carry a fire pan regardless of the ban. It is for emergency use only.

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Old 06-26-2019   #2
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 128
LOl that hilarious. Some called it, fire ban on a record smashing year with early monsoons coming.
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Old 06-26-2019   #3
Defiance, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 240
Frog strangling downpours as recently as Saturday. So 4 days since the last major storm cycle, must be a tinder box down there by now!

In all fairness it has been 90* and windy so things are drying out but banning even charcoal, seems a bit overzealous.
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Old 06-26-2019   #4
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 141
I have never understood the charcoal bans on the big beach river camps. You can have an open fire shooting sparks left and right at the bone dry cheat grass infested "developed" campground but can not have charcoal in an elevated fire pan on a fire blanket on a big sand bar next to the river with no flammable vegetation near by.

I think the BLM and NPS should review their fire restrictions. There is a lot of flammable material around most of the developed sites. Could you imagine the outrage if the general public had a fire ban in a developed campsite? but if god says - it must be true.

What is the rational for charcoal restrictions on a river beach? Other than the idiots lighting fireworks off a few years back when is the last time a fire was started by charcoal on the river? There typically are not a lot of flammables on the sand bars as the river drops.
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Old 06-27-2019   #5
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 233
Yeah, that’s some pretty laughable shit, BLM. I was in GJ a few days back. Blistering temps in the 50s, cloudy, rainy, never seen the area so green and new snow in the mountains. And you guys are doing fire bans. My tax dollars at work.

Thanks for the heads up, though. Sure would have never guessed the “need” this season on my own.
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Old 06-27-2019   #6
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 128
The biggest issue I have with un-reasonable fire bans is when you cry wolf all the time no one respects any fire restrictions. I have violated fire restrictions in Colorado so many times I have lost count, many times during days on end of driving rain......
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Old 06-27-2019   #7
FoCo,NoCo, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 326
Don't blame the BLM for protecting the river corridor from us. Blame it on the poor choices of the river runners before you who through blatant disregard of restrictions or extreme ignorance started some spectacular wildfires in Ruby/Horsethief. This is also Colorado BLM, Utah BLM will treat fire conditions differently. If you want a flat water float and require a campfire, head down river, Moab Daily.
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Old 06-27-2019   #8
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 322
First off, called it.
Second off, are you whiners serious?
Yeah its been a long wet spring... we also live in the desert.
Wet seasons mean the fuel grows faster and there is more of the small easily ignitable vegetation dried out in late summer. This is the reason the fire fighting agencies are freaking out this year. I started a thread a month ago asking for predictions because Holy Cross ranger friends of mine had already been called to active duty.

Someone here remembers the Dog Island fire but seems to think only reckless people with fireworks start wildfires. Has any one heard of an ounce of prevention prevents...
How many people lost friends to the Storm King fire? And seriously, if you claim to know what the weather is going to be like in a month, well, good for you I've got a tinfoil hat to sell you.

So, you can't make your fancy dutch oven lasagnas, bummer. In case any one noticed, R/H is hot as balls in July and August. Having a fire then is like watering your lawn in the rain. Don't say you want it for ambiance because it stays light until 9.
And you are allowed to have a fire then... if someone in your party is in risk of hypothermia.

Why are fires allowed in developed campsites? Because a) most easily combustable fuel is absent (how much kindling can you find on the ground in July in a Colorado campground?) b) if there is an ignition in a developed campground it is a lot easier to respond to - remember there are maintained roads - how long does it take a fire truck to drive to Mee, or Cottonwoods, or... Dog Island. But I still think it is bad form to have an unnecessary fire in fire season regardless. Sure there are not a lot of flammables on the sandy beach, but if I remember correctly river corridors tend to be really windy and I have had my fair share of coals from charcoal blow up and out of a fire pan. How many people have fire pans with higher than three inch sides (or whatever minimum reg is)?

WE LIVE IN THE F-ING DESERT. If you need to have a fire in July go boating in Florida.

Last year someone with a sense of humor responded to the fire ban by complaining they couldn't bring there welding gear to assemble their tent. Suck it up.

Or think of it like this, fire ban = no charcoal/wood on boat = more room for beer.

Yeah, most fires are natural events, but many can be prevented. An ounce of prevention... means the less opportunity for being an a-hole and saying I told you so.
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Old 06-27-2019   #9
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 128
Don't mind me, I think fire pans are stupid as well.....
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Old 06-27-2019   #10
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,727
Hey folks, the fire ban's not in effect until a few days from now. The fire ban's not for the cold, wet, "Junuary" we've had but is for normal summer conditions with an extra helping of lush but soon-to-be dessicated cheat grass under all the other stuff. Once that grass dries out, the tiniest spark will set it off. We're moving into a typical summer weather pattern now, it's going to be hot and dry.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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