With a massive wildlfire burning less than 50 miles to the east, officials at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado have instituted a park-wide ban on open fires, even those fueled by charcoal.
The "High Park Fire" burning near Fort Collins, Colorado, covers more than 58,000 acres and was only 45 percent contained Monday afternoon. At last count the fire had consumed 181 structures and was blamed for the death of a woman whose body was found in her cabin.
At the national park, officials cited the "extreme fire danger" and extended forecast of dry, gusty weather in announcing the ban on fires. The ban took effect Monday and was to remain in effect indefinitely.
"Campfires, including charcoal briquette fires, are not permitted anywhere within the park," said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson. "However, petroleum-fueled stoves and grills will still be permitted in designated backcountry campsites, as well as developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
"Smoking is also prohibited, except within enclosed vehicles, parking lots or developed areas that are cleared of all flammable materials for at least three feet in diameter. Visitors are reminded to properly extinguish all lighted smoking materials in ashtrays. Fireworks are always prohibited within the park."
The last time a total fire ban was in place in the park was in September of 2010, and during the summer of 2002.