Colo. fire chiefs ask governor for statewide fire ban

The chiefs requested a six-month ban in a letter to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis


Olivia Prentzel
The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado fire chiefs urged Gov. Jared Polis to implement a statewide, six-month fire ban to reduce the risk of wildfires while firefighters are needed for other emergencies, including the coronavirus, according to a letter sent earlier this week.

The requested ban would help prevent diverting critical resources amid the spread of the virus for something that is easily "avoidable," the letter stated. "We already have 'all hands on deck' as we respond to normal fires, accidents, emergency medical calls and other emergencies and now the additional challenges of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Under the proposed ban, essential agricultural fires could be approved at a county level.

The letter was sent by several agencies across the state — including Colorado State Fire Chiefs, of which Colorado Springs's chief, Ted Collas, is a member.

A request for comment from the governor's office was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.

In the letter, Colorado fire chiefs also called for rapid testing for firefighters, law enforcement officers, dispatchers or EMTs who show symptoms consistent with the virus, or who may have been exposed to the virus. They urged the tests results be provided within 24 hours.

Fire chiefs also asked for an executive order that would increase the priority for providing personal protective equipment — including N95 masks, gowns and goggles — to firefighters and first responders across the state, and a triage procedure that would allow some patients who are treated by paramedics to be left at home or provide care over the phone.

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©2020 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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