Sheridan, Wyo. (July 14, 2017) – Bighorn National Forest fire managers are asking the public to make every effort to prevent human-caused wildfires. Fire danger in the national forest has elevated to high and there are two more months of the summer season still to go.
High fire danger means dead fuels ignite readily, fires can start easily, and unattended campfires are likely to escape. While no significant fires have occurred in the forest this summer, fire managers are concerned about abandoned campfires.
“Fires caused by lightning are something we expect and prepare for. Human-caused fires are 100 percent preventable,” said acting forest supervisor John Kidd. “Fire danger in the Bighorns is high, meaning there’s potential for large fires.”
Fire season in the Bighorns typically lasts until the middle of September. “With another two months of fire season and with hot daytime temperatures in the forecast, forest users should be especially careful with campfires. Never leave a campfire unattended, and make sure the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving your campsite,” said fire management officer Jon Warder.
Anyone identified as abandoning a campfire or leaving it unattended risks federal citations as well as liability for costs associated with suppressing the fire.
Though no fire restrictions are in place for the Bighorn National Forest, forest visitors should take every precaution to prevent human-caused wildfires.
- Spark arresters are required on all portable, gasoline-powered equipment.
- Keep a shovel and a fire extinguisher handy.
- Chains and other metal parts throw sparks, so be sure they aren’t dragging on the ground.
- Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass or brush as hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire.
- Lead by example to educate children about fire safety.
- To completely extinguish a campfire, drown the fire with water, or dirt, and stir with a shovel. Feel for any heat using the back of your hand. Continue to drown and stir until it’s completely out.
For nearly 70 years, Smokey Bear has promoted the prevention of unwanted wildfires. Visit www.smokeybear.com to learn more about how you can prevent wildfires, read Smokey’s story, and watch videos about Smokey’s mission to protect public lands.
Wildfires can be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling Cody Interagency Dispatch Center at 800.295.9954 or by calling 911.
For information about forest conditions, contact a Bighorn National Forest office in Buffalo at 307.684.7806, Greybull at 307.765.4435, or Sheridan at 307.674.2600.
Find current fire restrictions in Wyoming at https://on.doi.gov/2rro3ON.