Stage 1 fire restrictions go into affect on Bighorn National Forest/Fire Warden stresses caution with fireworks

Jessica Robinson

Despite recent moisture this past weekend, Bighorn National Forest Supervisor Andrew Johnson implemented Stage 1 Fire Restrictions that went into effect at 12:01 a.m., Monday, June 28.

According to a release, a continued drying trend is anticipated and fuels have been at a record level of dryness.

Johnson said in a statement, “With increasing seasonal fire danger, we are implementing these fire restrictions to protect the public health and safety. 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 the restrictions, the following is prohibited:

· Igniting, building, attending, maintaining or using a fire (includes fires fueled by charcoal or briquettes) outside of a permanent metal or concrete fire pit or grate that the Forest Service has installed and maintained at its developed recreation sites. There is an exception for the use of a stove or grill solely fueled by liquid petroleum fuels, or a fully enclosed metal stove, grill or sheep herder type stove with a chimney at least five feet in length and a mesh screen spark arrestor with a screen opening of ¼ inch or less.

· Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or in a developed recreation site, or while stopping in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

· Operating a chainsaw without an affective and properly installed USDA or SAE approved spark arrestor, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum eight ounce capacity and rating of 2A) kept with the operator. A round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.

· Blasting, welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame without being in a cleared area of at least 10 feet in diameter and keeping a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with the operator.

·Using an explosive that includes fuses, blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets, tracers and incendiary ammunition.

·Personal, portable wood or charcoal burning fire pigs/rings that are often made of stainless steel. Campfires are only allowed in USDA approved and installed fire pits/grates or gas fueled devices with an on and off switch.

With the Fourth of July holiday, visitors of the forest are reminded that fireworks are never allowed on federally managed lands.

BHC Fire Warden stresses caution with fireworks

BHC Fire Warden Brent Godfrey is stressing to those wanting to celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks to use caution.

Godfrey said to have water nearby when setting off fireworks. He added to shoot them in an area clear of grass like a gravel pit such as the one northwest of Worland. The pit will be available to shoot fireworks from July 2-5.

Godfrey emphasized people need to be extremely careful with shooting off fireworks in order to avoid fire and injuries.