Fire Restrictions Instituted At Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument,

A blast of unseasonally hot air, coupled with extremely dry forests, has led to fire restrictions being put into effect at Rocky Mountain National Park and Dinosaur National Monument.

With temperatures running into the 90s in the Rockies, the two parks have placed restrictions on smoking and campfires.

At Rocky Mountain National Park, due to the continued extreme fire danger, extended weather forecast, and current level of fire activity in Colorado, park officials are reminding visitors of existing regulations pertaining to the use of fires that are always in place within the park. Additionally, they've placed a new restriction on smoking.

Existing regulations include:

* Fires, including grills and charcoal briquettes, are permitted only in designated areas and sites where a metal fire ring or grate is provided. These areas include developed campgrounds, some picnic areas, and some designated backcountry campsites pursuant to an overnight use permit.

* Campfires or grills are not permitted anywhere else in the park.

* Petroleum-fueled stoves are permitted in designated backcountry campsites by permit only, and in developed campgrounds and picnic areas.

In addition to those regulations, smoking is now prohibited except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed site such as a campground or picnic area, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter cleared of all flammable materials.

Park visitors are reminded to fully extinguish all fires and lighted smoking materials in a safe manner. Fireworks are always prohibited within the park.

At Dinosaur National Monument in western Colorado and eastern Utah, Superintendent Mary Risser said restrictions on open fires will take effect on Tuesday, July 2, for the entire monument.

“The extremely dry conditions along with large amounts of flammable vegetation have created a high fire danger situation. As recent fires in the monument have shown, conditions are ripe for fires to break out," she said in a release.

To protect visitors and monument staff, as well as, the natural and cultural resources in Dinosaur National Monument, restrictions on open fires have been issued. Building or using any open fire or campfire, except within National Park Service-provided fire grates and grills at developed campgrounds, is prohibited.

Even in the monument's campgrounds, where fires will continue to be allowed, visitors should be extremely cautious when having a fire. Watch out for the wind blowing sparks into dry vegetation. Always make sure any fires – including charcoal fires – are completely out when you are done. You should be able to put your hand in the extinguished coals or charcoal.

Backcountry and river users should also know that charcoal is still permitted along the Green and Yampa rivers as long as it is contained in a fire pan with fire blanket and on sand free of any vegetation. Open campfires in the backcountry are prohibited. The use of pressurized gas or liquid fuel stoves is permitted in all areas. The use of charcoal in grills in picnic areas is still permitted also.

Smoking is permitted only in enclosed vehicles, developed recreation site, or in areas cleared of all flammable material. Fireworks are always strictly prohibited in Dinosaur National Monument and other federal lands.

These restrictions will remain in effect until such time as the fire danger in the monument becomes less severe.

If necessary, National Park Service Rangers will issue citations to persons violating the terms of this closure under authority of Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations 1.5(f).