By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Fire restrictions are being implemented in multiple Wyoming counties Friday due to dry conditions and high fire danger across the state.
The restrictions will apply to public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Fremont, Hot Springs, Natrona, Washakie, Big Horn and Park counties.
Washakie and Hot Springs counties are currently experiencing a wildfire, known as the Neiber Fire, which is estimated to cover 17,606 acres and is 30% contained. The fire started south of Worland on Wednesday and was caused by humans.
Fire managers base decisions about fire restrictions on current and projected weather conditions, the amount of dry vegetation and other risk factors.
“These fire restrictions are a result of our continued coordinated relationships with our fellow wildfire cooperators,” Fire Management Officer Rich Zimmerlee said in a news release.
Hot, dry conditions and high fire danger have prompted the prohibition of the following activities:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except within agency-provided fire grates at developed recreation sites, within fully enclosed stoves with a ¼-inch spark arrester type screen, within fully enclosed grills or in stoves using pressurized liquid or gas;
- Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials;
- Operating a chainsaw without a U.S. Department of Agriculture or Society of Automotive Engineers approved spark arrester properly installed and working, a chemical fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces capacity by weight and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches;
- Using a welder, either arc or gas, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame, except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter with a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces capacity.
These fire restrictions are in addition to the year-round wildfire prevention restrictions on BLM-administered lands throughout Wyoming, which include:
- Discharging or using any fireworks.
- Discharging a firearm using incendiary or tracer ammunition.
- Burning, igniting or causing to burn any tire, wire, magnesium or any other hazardous or explosive material.
- Operating any off-road vehicle on public lands unless the vehicle is equipped with a properly installed spark arrester pursuant to 43 CFR 8343.1 (c).
- Use/discharge of explosives of any kind, incendiary devices, pyrotechnic devices, or exploding targets.
Failure to comply with fire restrictions on federal lands is punishable by law. Those found responsible for starting wildfires will also face restitution costs for suppressing the fire.