Shoshone National Forest Enacts Stage One Fire Restrictions
Written by Andrew-Rossi on June 24, 2021
Shoshone National Forest is taking necessary steps to mitigate the chance of dangerous human-caused wildfires, which affects how Wyomingites can use the forest.
Effective at 12:01 p.m. on Friday, June 25, Stage One Fire Restrictions will be in effect throughout Shoshone National Forest.
Forest officials say the decision is based on moisture measurements in vegetation and other risk factors to include the weather and current fire activity.
Shoshone National Forest Supervisor Lisa Timchak says there is no end date to the Stage 1 restrictions. Ultimately, it’s the forest that will influence any decisions.
“These fire restrictions will remain in place on the entirety of the Shoshone National Forest until further notice,” Timchak says. “Our fire managers will continue to monitor conditions, and if they improve, we will reassess the restrictions.”
Under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, several objects and activities are prohibited unless specific conditions are met.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- This includes but is not limited to fuses, blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets, tracers, and incendiary ammunition.
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.
These fire restrictions aren’t happening in a vacuum, as areas all around Wyoming are taking precautions to avoid a devastating wildfire season.
Yellowstone National Park raised its fire level from Low to High within a week. Meanwhile, Grand Teton National Park upgraded its own fire level to Very High.
Adjacent to Shoshone National Forest, the Robertson Draw Fire in Montana’s Custer Gallatin National Forest continues to smolder. InciWeb reports the fire is 29,601 acres and 53% contained as of June 23.
While the Robertson Draw Fire hasn’t burned across the Wyoming state line, Shoshone National Forest temporarily closed the Line Creek Road to motorized vehicles due to the ongoing blaze. On June 19, sections of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir were closed to allow aircraft fighting the fire to land and scoop water.
Several fires occurred in Shoshone National Forest in 2020 – but the weather made containing these incidents much easier than it would be this summer.
Over a year ago, on June 13, 2020, the Lost Creek Fire was first reported 35 miles west of Cody. Cooler temperatures and high humidity helped firefighters quickly suppress the fire, containing it to 591 acres. The cause remains unknown.
In August 2020, the Hudson Meadow Fire burned one-tenth of an acre and was fully contained within a day, thanks to quick action by the Washakie Ranger District. An abandoned and improperly extinguished campfire caused the fire.
No one in Cody or northwest Wyoming wants a repeat of the Fishhawk Fire, which burned 11,171 acres in Shoshone National Forest during Summer 2019.
Forest officials have already released a statement asking visitors to be alert and aware in Shoshone National Forest. Anyone visiting should plan a potential escape should they find themselves surrounded by fire.