Fire ban lifted, but some things still prohibited

Sep 20, 2017 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

With fire bans in place across Fremont County since July now rescinded, land managers have specified which activities now are permissible -- and which are not.

The Bureau of Land Management lifted its fire ban Friday, and Fremont County followed suit on Tuesday.

The lifting of the bans doesn't mean anything goes however.

The following activities can now resume on public property administered by the Bureau of Land Management:

- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire

- Smoking

- Operating a chainsaw

- Using an arc or gas welder or acetylene or other torch

The following restrictions remain in effect year-round on all BLM-administered public lands:

- Discharging or using fireworks

- Discharging a firearm using incendiary or tracer ammunition

- Burning or igniting tires, wires, magnesium, or other hazardous or explosive material

- Operating an off-road vehicle unless it is equipped with a properly installed spark arrester

The Fremont County Fire Protection district generally concurs with BLM's recommendations on non-federal lands.

A period of cooler, damp weather prompted the lifting of the fire bans.

National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Skrbac said a storm system is moving into the area Wednesday evening and is likely remain in place through at least Friday - and possibly through next Tuesday - bringing snow to elevations above 6,000 feet and cold rain to the valley floor.

After this week's storm system passes through, Skrbac said Fremont County should experience a "high pressure ridge aloft" that will keep the weather dry for a while, with temperatures potentially climbing back into the 70s.

"We'll get some nice weather by the second half of next week," he said.

Regardless, the cold weather season is approaching, so county fire warden Craig Haslam advised residents to check their furnaces, stoves and chimneys to ensure they are clear for use during the winter.

Despite the end of this year's fire ban, officials warned that people should continue to practice safe burning practices, as fires still can get out of control in windy, dry conditions.

During Tuesday's Fremont County Commission meeting, chairman Travis Becker said, "You can burn away, but please be safe," and Commissioner Larry Allen, who also serves as chief of Lysite's fire battalion, said that, even with continuing rain, there still are risks.

Fuels like grass and brush still are critically dry in the Wind River Basin, Skrbac said.

"Be cautious until we get some more significant rain," he said. "We'll reassess after we get this next event."

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