Wildfires & High Water – Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District

Wildfires & High Water

It’s that time of year again and we’d like to talk about wildfire and high water safety. As more people are venturing into the mountains to recreate it’s important to know the risks, stay up-to-date on alerts, and be prepared for any situation.


Since Colorado has had a considerably dry year, we need to be aware of the potential threat of wildfires during the summer months ahead.

Fire bans can change rather quickly throughout the state depending on weather conditions and first responder resources. It’s important to check with the county that you plan on camping or recreating in to see if there is a fire ban in place.

Did you know that a majority of wildfires are caused by human activity? That’s why we need your help in preventing them. Following a few simple steps, like ensuring your campfire is completely extinguished or your vehicle is well maintained and not emitted sparks, will go a long way in preventing fires.

Campfire Safety Tips:

  • When building your campfire, make sure the area around is clear of debris or any other flammable materials. Do not build the fire larger than necessary and never leave your fire unattended.
  • Always keep a way to extinguish the fire handy, whether that is a shovel to put dirt on it or a jug of water. Never leave children unattended around a fire and always make sure a responsible person is in attendance of the fire.
  • When extinguishing your campfire, use the drown, stir and feel method. Drown your fire with water then stir around the fire with your shovel to wet any remaining embers or ash. Mix dirt thoroughly throughout to smother the fire and feel the area with the back of your hand to make sure nothing is still smoldering.

Equipment Safety Tips:

  • If you live in a wildland area you need to remember to use all equipment responsibly. Lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws, grinders, welders etc.
  • Please make sure you have the proper permits in wildland areas for grinding and welding operations.
  • When mowing your lawn, mow before 10am, but never when it is windy or excessively dry. Remember that metal blades striking rocks can create sparks and start fires so use caution.

High Water

Early summer is the time for winter runoff and water levels to rise. Our rivers and streams are close to peak runoff for the year as abnormally high temperatures over the last couple of months have accelerated the high elevation snowmelt. We ask the public to be aware of these elevated levels while they are recreating on the water.

Another thing to note this year that is different than most, are the restrictions set in place due to COVID. While this is normally a time when we would be whitewater rafting with friends, going on big river trips, etc, we hope that you are taking the necessary precautions to keep you and your friends/family safe.

We’ve outlined some information and safety tips below and recommend checking with local outdoor adventure companies on their procedures and guidelines during this time.

  • When heavy rainfall occurs flooding can follow, so make sure you get to higher ground immediately
  • Avoid flood prone areas and those with fast-moving water
  • Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to sweep a person off their feet.
  • Keep children away from high water, storm drains, and other areas where they could be in danger
  • Remember to never camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, especially when water levels are high or fluctuating.
  • Always make sure to have proper floatation devices when rafting, kayaking, or during other water activities. Always make sure your entire party knows proper etiquette and safety procedures.

With COVID heavily on our minds and as counties are slowly starting to reopen, we encourage you to check ahead with the counties that you are recreating in, respect their guidelines and plan ahead. This can still be a fun, adventurous summer as long as we all work together to make that happen. We hope you and your family and friends stay happy, healthy, and safe. As always, feel free to reach out to your friends at the Carbondale Fire District with any questions.