Stage one partial fire ban implemented


GOSHEN COUNTY – Ahead of his monthly presentation before the Goshen County Commissioners Board, Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law announced a stage one fire ban to begin Wednesday, July 5.

In a press release Tuesday, Law wrote: “Be it known that as of July 5, 2022 – with the approval of the County Commissioners – at the direction of the Fire Warden, all lands in Goshen County will be under a Stage 1 Fire Restriction Status until further notice.”

Law will still present his recommendation to implement a stage one full county fire ban to the board for approval at its regular Tuesday, July 5 meeting. He anticipates the board to approve the request based on current summer conditions.

“It’s not ideal to place a full fire ban in the county for many reasons – because we have many ranchers and producers who wouldn’t be able to burn refuse with a full ban in place,” Law explained. Adding, “We’ve only had a full fire ban twice, since 2004.”

“While it is not advisable, controlled burns on rural properties are allowed,” Law added. “However you need to follow the proper steps: make sure your burn area is free of vegetation or other burnable materials within a reasonable area; provide the manpower, water source and equipment necessary to prevent it from spreading; call the Torrington Dispatch Center at (307) 532-7001 prior to starting the fire and call them when it is out.”

According to the Wyoming Interagency Fire Restrictions Plan by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Wyoming’s 23 county’s fire wardens, and the Wyoming State Forestry Division (WSFD), weather and landscape conditions must meet three of the six criteria to implement a partial (level/stage one/two) fire ban. A full fire ban (level/stage three) must have a current partial ban in effect and meet at least four of the six conditions.

Those conditions include: 1,000 hour fuel moisture content is 90 percentile or above, meaning drought conditions; three-day mean energy release component (or ERC) is at the 90 percentile or above in the rep fuel model; live fuel (combustion materials in the landscape) is 75% or less; wildfires are impacting existing available fire suppression resources; an area is seeing an increase, heightened or a higher occurrence of wildfires; adverse weather conditions exist or are predicted to exacerbate fire conditions, such as red flag winds/advisories, lightning storms, extreme heat conditions or other weather patterns that make fire suppression difficult.

In Wyoming, a partial ban on non-federal lands means all outdoor fires are prohibited in unimproved (locations which lack utility services such as electricity, water, telephone and street access) areas, except:

• Trash or refuge fires between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. inside containers provided with spark arresters and located within a cleared area ten feet in radius;

• Campfires contained within an established fire ring at established campgrounds;

• Use of acetylene cutting torches or electric arc welders in cleared areas ten feet in radius; charcoal fires within enclosed grills;

• Propane or open fire branding activities in cleared areas ten feet in radius.

In Wyoming, a partial ban on federal lands means the following is prohibited unless otherwise noted at the site:

• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal barbecue, or grills except in designated recreation sites on federal lands;

• The use of portable stoves, lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, pressurized liquid fuel or fully enclosed (sheepherder type) wood burning stoves (piped) with a ¼’ spark arrester type screen are permitted;

• Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame or arc except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in radius with a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of at least;

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

• Using an explosive requiring fuse type blasting caps;

• Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A, and one round pointed shovel with an overall length of a least 36 inches;

• Discharge of fireworks;

• Exemptions: Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act. Any federal, state, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty. 

In Wyoming, a full ban on non federal lands means all outdoor fires are prohibited and the following activities are restricted and/or prohibited and requires permits:

• All outdoor fires, including, but not limited to, trash fires, charcoal fires, acetylene torches, electric arc welders, grills fueled by any pressurized liquid, and propane burners, are prohibited;

• Smoking shall be restricted to inside vehicles or buildings;

• All motorized travel shall be restricted to developed roads;

• Use of motorized equipment or tools shall be restricted to cleared areas 10 feet in radius;

• Discharge of fireworks is prohibited.

In Wyoming, a full ban on federal lands means all outdoor fires are prohibited and the following activities are restricted and/or prohibited and requires permits:

• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal barbecue, or grills are prohibited on federal lands;

• The use of portable stoves, lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, pressurized liquid fuel or fully enclosed (sheepherder type) wood burning stoves (piped) with a ¼’ spark arrester type screen are permitted;

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

• Discharge of fireworks and use of explosives. 

According to the U.S. Wyoming and Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM), there are three stages, or levels, concerning fire restrictions and bans.

A level one fire ban, or partial ban, is the first stage which occurs when there is an increasing fire danger and/or an increasing preparedness level which is measured against the risks of keeping the public lands open to all activities but is outweighed by the risks of doing so.

A stage (level) one fire ban imposes relatively minor restrictions aimed at preventing the start of wildfires based on human activities that are known to be high risk – specifically smoking and campfires. This can also include extreme drought and weather conditions ripe for wildfire expansion.

A stage (level) two, or partial, fire ban indicates a heightened level of wildfire risk and intensifies the restrictions from stage one by focusing on activities that – although normally managed under permit or contract – have a relatively high risk of causing a fire to start. Those can include recreational use and/or traveling use. Typically, a stage two restriction will affect public land users and comes with an economic impact to contractors, permittees and others who work in the designated area. These sorts of impacts are accessed when contemplating moving to a level two restriction.

A stage (level) three fire ban means total closure and complete prohibited fire activities ban. The social, economic and political impacts of implementing a full closure and fire ban are outweighed by the benefits associated with virtually eliminating the potential for human-caused fires.

Penalties for violating any stage (level) of fire restrictions is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, by a fine of not more than $5000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months and/or both.

For more information on fire restriction regulations in Wyoming visit, www.gacc.nifc.gov.

For more information about current restrictions statewide, visit www.blm.gov. 

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