2018 Drought & Fire Restrictions

Telluride Bluegrass Festival
(photo Benko Photographics)
Telluride Bluegrass Festival grounds
(photo Benko Photographics)

Due to severe drought conditions in the Telluride region, Planet Bluegrass and local governments are taking major precautions to prevent wildfires this June. Fear not: The 45th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival will be held as planned, with all Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds opening as scheduled. However, fire and smoking restrictions will be in effect throughout the Festival.

We urge you to take a few minutes to read this important information, which includes some Frequently Asked Questions. We will continue to update this webpage with current info about fire restrictions and other fire and drought-related issues.

Please take care of this beautiful place by carefully honoring all of these fire and smoking restrictions throughout your stay in southwestern Colorado. If you see someone smoking on a trail or outside the designated smoking areas, educate them about this year's severe drought and wildfire danger. Let's take care of each other -- and take care of this magical place.

Fire Restrictions at the Festival & Campgrounds

The Town of Telluride (including the Town Park festival grounds) and all Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds are under a Stage 2 Fire Restriction. This restriction means:

  1. NO open fires and NO fireworks
  2. NO charcoal grills (Gas or propane stoves will be allowed if the flame can be immediately turned on/off with a valve or switch.)
  3. NO smoking (of any combustible substance) outdoors except in specially designated smoking areas.
    • Telluride Bluegrass Festivarians
(photo Benko Photographics)
      Smoking areas in Town Park & Warner Field
      Inside the Festival grounds: Our normal smoking rules inside the main Festival grounds will remain unaffected. Please continue to be respectful of those around you and move away from crowds if you wish to smoke. Please be extra careful, however, to extinguish your smokes properly and completely.
    • In the Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds Town Park, Warner Field and Lawson Hill, and Mary E. Iliumcampgrounds: Smoking areas will be designated in each of the Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds. (Map of smoking areas in Town Park and Warner Field.)
    • Outside the Festival grounds in the Town of Telluride: smoking will only be allowed on paved hard scape areas.

Smoking Restrictions

A few important notes regarding the above smoking restrictions:

Regular Patrols

Telluride Bluegrass Festivarians
(photo Benko Photographics)
Telluride Bluegrass Festivarians
(photo Benko Photographics)

The Fire Department and Marshal's Department will be patrolling the campgrounds regularly to make sure everything is going well and that there are no points of concern. Their presence does not indicate that there is a fire, or that they are necessarily looking to bust people. They are just interested in making sure everyone is safe and being respectful of the areas.

Please be very conscious of these regulations 24/7. These restrictions have been put in place to protect all of us -- and preserve this beautiful box canyon during this period of increased fire danger. Planet Bluegrass and the local residents and law enforcement thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this year's Festival.

Local and Regional Restrictions

Local agencies which immediately encompass the Festival and the Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds are currently under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions. These restrictions prohibit open fires and outdoor smoking except in designated areas.

Further south and east of Telluride, the San Juan National Forest is closed to public access due to Stage 3 Fire Restrictions. This closure does NOT affect any of the Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds. However, all camping, hiking, and public access within this National Forest is currently closed. (For those unfamiliar with the area, the San Juan National Forest is located several miles south of Telluride, south of Ophir.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Festival be canceled?
No. The 45th Telluride Bluegrass Festival will be held as planned. We don't anticipate any changes to the Festival schedule.
Festivarian Campers
(photo Benko Photographics)
Festivarian Campers
(photo Benko Photographics)
Will I still be able to camp in the Planet Bluegrass campgrounds?
Yes, the Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds will open as scheduled. We will be taking extra precautions to ensure the safety in these campgrounds. The Fire Department and Telluride Marshal's Department will be visiting each campground regularly to make sure there are no issues.
I'm camping at Mary E Ilium Campground, where can I smoke?
Updated 6/16/2018: Thanks to the cooperation of the USFS, the Mary E. Ilium Campground will have a designated smoking area inside the campground, similar to all the other Planet Bluegrass-managed Campgrounds.
What are the penalties for violating these fire restrictions?
Ultimately, the intent of these fire restrictions is to protect all of us during this period of severe fire danger. So we hope that is reason enough for everyone to honor these restrictions. But in the case of violations, the Town of Telluride fire ban specifies penalties of $250 for unauthorized smoking or unauthorized fires. The other fire restrictions carry similar penalties.
Will I be able to camp in other regional campgrounds?
It depends on the location. Campgrounds located within the San Juan National Forest are now closed. Please check with your campground before traveling.
What do I do if my non-Planet Bluegrass-managed campground is closed?
Check out our listing of other regional campgrounds. Or consider lodging options in Telluride, Mountain Village, or Ridgway.
How close are the 416 and Burro wildfires?
Both of these wildfires are 25+ miles south of Telluride, separated by several alpine ridges. These wildfires are located in the San Juan National Forest, at a significantly lower elevation from Telluride.
Will these wildfires cause air quality issues?
A variety of complicated factors affect how the wildfire smoke travels from hour-to-hour including current wind patterns. For the best information check weather websites such as WeatherUnderground or the state of Colorado's Air Quality Website. Our EMTs inside the Festival grounds will be prepared to address health issues related to air quality.
Will the wildfires or other restrictions affect travel to Telluride?
Some roads north from Durango may be closed due to current wildfires or National Forest Service closures. For the latest info on road closures and delays check out www.cotrip.org.
How might possible rainstorms affect these restrictions?
While the current weather forecast shows a chance of occasional rains (yay!!!), a few days of rain will not be enough to alleviate the current drought and fire risk. We're all doing rain dances every day -- and these rains will certainly help -- but the current dry conditions are severe enough to require several weeks or more of moisture.

Emergency Notifications via CodeRED

CodeRED emergency notification service

CodeRED is a free emergency notification service provided to all residents and visitors within San Miguel County by the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office. This service will notify you of emergency information through phone calls, text messages, emails, and the CodeRED Mobile Alert app. The system will be used to keep you informed of local events that may immediately impact your safety.

We encourage you to learn more and enroll today at SanMiguelCountySheriff.org.


Have more questions? Email planet@bluegrass.com, message @planetbluegrass on Facebook, or call 800-624-2422. Note that our office will be closed on Friday, June 15 as we relocate our office staff to the box office in Telluride.

Make sure you're signed up for our email newsletter for Festival updates. And follow us on Facebook, Instagram (@planet.bluegrass) and Twitter (@planetbluegrass) for the most immediate updates.