Bighorn National Forest Enacts Stage One Fire Restrictions

Bighorn National Forest Enacts Stage One Fire Restrictions

Written by on June 29, 2021

Following the lead of other national forests in Wyoming, Bighorn National Forest has implemented Stage One fire restrictions during an increasingly dry summer.

Bighorn National Forest

The Bighorn National Forest Supervisor implemented Stage 1 Fire Restrictions starting at 12:01 am on Monday, June 28, 2021. Despite recent moisture this past weekend, a continued drying trend is anticipated, and fuels have been at a record level of dryness.

Forest officials say the decision is based on moisture measurements in vegetation and other risk factors to include the weather and current fire activity.

Forest supervisor Andrew Johnson says it’s about more than just preventing fires. Competition for firefighting resources will continue to be high this summer. Just one abandoned campfire could cause a large fire without adequate resources to stop it.

“With increasing seasonal fire danger, we are implementing these restrictions to protect public health and safety,” said Bighorn National Forest Supervisor Andrew Johnson. “These fire restrictions will remain in place on the entirety of the Bighorn National Forest until further notice. Our fire managers will continue to monitor conditions, and if they improve, we will reassess the restrictions.  Coming in and out of fire restrictions is not feasible over short periods of time, and we appreciate the public’s understanding of the potential fire situations.”

Under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, several objects and activities are prohibited unless specific conditions are met.

  1. Igniting, building, attending, maintaining, or using a fire

    • This restriction includes fires fueled by charcoal or briquettes outside of a permanent metal or concrete fire pit or grates that the Forest Service has installed and maintained at its developed recreation sites (campgrounds and picnic areas.)The use of a stove or grill solely fueled by liquid petroleum fuels, or a fully enclosed metal stove, grill, or sheepherder type stove with a chimney at least 5 feet in length and a mesh screen spark arrestor with a screen opening of ¼ inch, or less is permitted.
  2.  Smoking

    • Except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or in a developed recreation site, or while stopping in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
  3. Operating a chainsaw

    • without an effective and properly installed U.S.D.A. or Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) approved spark arrestor, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum 8 oz. capacity and rating of 2A) kept with the operator and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.
  4. Blasting, welding, or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame

    • A cleared area of at least 10 feet in diameter and keeping a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum 8 oz. capacity and rating of 2A) with the operator are needed for this activity.
  5. Explosives

    • This includes but is not limited to fuses, blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets, tracers, and incendiary ammunition.
  6. Personal, portable wood or charcoal-burning fire pits/rings

    • Campfires are only allowed in U.S.D.A.-approved and installed fire pits/grates or gas-fueled devices with an on/off switch.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, over 90% of forest fires are caused by humans.

Stage One fire restrictions were enacted in Shoshone National Forest on June 25.

Violation of these regulations is punishable as a class B misdemeanor, by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of not more than six months – or both. Anyone negligently or willfully starting a wildland fire could also be held responsible for the costs of that fire.

Those punishments are being put to the test after the Robertson Draw Fire in Custer Gallatin National Forest. Last week, John Lightburn was arrested for starting the fire after spilling and igniting gasoline while repairing a dirt bike.

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