Chief Gives Spring Fire Safety Tips

By Don Taylor, Salida Fire Chief

The mountains are getting snow, but the Salida area has not seen a significant amount of snow this winter.  These early spring-like days are great for getting out and enjoying the city and its many amenities, but it does bring the potential for a dry and dangerous spring fire season.  While your local fire departments are doing their annual refresher training and ensuring that they are prepared for spring, I wanted to take a moment to remind you about the season and controlled burns.

Now is a great time to look at your property and make sure it is ready for spring.  Property fire mitigation is best initiated prior to the start of the fire season so that it can be easily maintained throughout the rest of the year.  The fire department, and the Colorado State Fire Service, has handouts which can give you some ideas on how to make your property safer in the event of a wildland fire.  For more information, visit:

Within the City of Salida, there is no open burning, with the exception of a campfire in your back yard. Keep in mind, even campfires can be dangerous and they must meet certain requirements to be legal.

Outdoor burning in Chaffee County is legal, but it must be in accordance with Chaffee County Ordinance No. 2006-02.  Many of these outdoor fires need to be “permitted” in order to ensure that the burning can be accomplished safely.  The process of getting a burn permit can be accomplished by contacting the fire chief in your area.  Before lighting your fire, you must contact the Sheriff’s Office (539-2596) and your local fire station to ensure that you can burn due to weather conditions and the number of burns allowed in the county on that day.  Remember, if your burn required a permit, if you burned on a “No-Burn” day, or you did not ensure the fire stayed within its boundaries, you could be liable for any damages that occur.  If you have any questions regarding the burn ordinance, contact your local fire chief.

On Sunday, March 11, we set our clocks ahead.  When you change your clocks, you should also take the time to clean and change the batteries in your smoke detectors.  Thanks to a grant received by Chaffee County Fire Protection District and funds raised by the South Arkansas Fire Protection District, we have some additional smoke detectors that we can install in your home if you need one.  We can also change your batteries for you.  Call the fire station at 539-2212 if we can assist you with either.

So enjoy, and take advantage of the nice weather to ensure that your home is safe for the spring season. Please take a moment and think of those in the Midwest who have been through multiple tornadoes over the last week.  Also, please remember our soldiers who continue to sacrifice for our freedom, may each of them come home to their families safely.