Be careful with fire this weekend

As of June 30, the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center was reporting moderate fire danger in Southwest Colorado, with drier conditions in low to middle elevations.

No fire restrictions were in place for the San Juan National Forest as of June 30. Fire restrictions on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation started last week.

National Forest visitors are encouraged to be careful with fire over the July 4 weekend and the rest of the summer. Fireworks are always illegal on National Forest lands. The penalty for violators is up to six months in prison and/ or $5,000 fine.

Other fire safety recommendations are:

. Call or visit the nearest San Juan National Forest office to determine fire danger in the place you will be visiting.

. Clear the area around campfires. Remove all vegetation and debris from within 10 feet before you start a fire.

. Have a bucket of water, shovel, and other implements handy in case wind or other conditions cause your campfire to get out of control.

. Never leave a campfire unattended. Make sure your campfire is completely out before leaving. Stir water and dirt into the coals until the coals are cool to the touch and there is no smoke.

. Extinguish smoking materials only in areas free of vegetation or debris. Never toss cigarette butts out the car window.

. Don't park your vehicle over dry vegetation. Hot exhaust systems can start a fire.

. Use an approved spark arrester on off-road vehicles and chainsaws. Check and replace spark arresters periodically.

Anyone responsible for starting a wildfire could be held responsible for the cost of putting it out and for damage caused.

To report a fire on federal lands call 385-1324.