High fire danger throughout Rocky Mountain National Park has led to the expansion of fire restrictions throughout the park, including a prohibition of smoking in the open and backcountry campfires.
The restrictions, which took effect Sunday night, are:
* No smoking in the open. Extinguish all lighted smoking materials in ashtrays. Smoking may occur only in enclosed vehicles, parking lots, or developed areas (ie. campgrounds and picnic areas) where the area has been cleared of all flammable material for at least three feet in diameter.
* Opens fires in the backcountry are prohibited. Only petroleum fueled stoves and grills are permitted in designated backcountry campsites.
* Open fires are allowed in developed areas (i.e. campgrounds and picnic grounds). As always, fully extinguish all campfires.
* The use of chainsaws to collect firewood at specific pre-approved sites and under the recently issued wood permit program is still allowable, following the conditions of the permit.
* Fireworks are always prohibited.
These restrictions are in place until further notice and rescinded by the superintendent or designee, according to a park release.
The restrictions were put in place as crews were gaining the upper hand on the "Onahu Fire," which started on the park's west side Saturday. The fire was held to 40 acres, and crews worked on mop-up chores Monday.
While conditions throughout the West are on the dry side, in Rocky Mountain the conditions are exacerbated by acres and acres of dead trees killed by bark beetles.