Fire Restrictions on G&F Lands
by Wyoming Game & Fish
July 10, 2006
With a hot dry spring and early summer inflicting extreme fire danger across much of Wyoming, open fires, barbecue grills and fireworks have been banned beginning July 8 from Wyoming Game and Fish Commission wildlife habitat management areas and public access areas until further notice.
Visitors can continue to use gas stoves, but open fires and barbecue grills are being prohibited to help guard against a range or forest fire breaking out.
"Conditions across many areas of the state are ideal for a catastrophic fire due to increasingly high temperatures and dry grass and other fuel that persisted from last year," said Bill Cowling, supervisor of the Game and Fish Habitat and Access Branch.
Smoking is also prohibited unless done in a vehicle, camper or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter barren of flammable materials. All chainsaws also need an approved spark arrestor.
The Game and Fish will be posting signs on its lands to inform users of the fire ban and hopes Wyoming receives enough moisture this summer to lift the ban by hunting season.
Bill Gerhart, the Game and Fish assistant habitat supervisor, says the ban does not change the department's long-term commitment to improve wildlife habitat through prescribed burns.
"The Game and Fish is not abandoning its support for prescribed fires when the conditions are right, because prescribed fires under proper conditions are designed to mimic natural fire and disturbance regimes," he said. "These fires improve the health of vegetation communities, return communities to earlier stage of succession and provides habitat for a greater variety of wildlife," he said. "But conditions aren't right this summer in those areas experiencing drought."
He adds some of the high elevation fires naturally caused by lightning strikes that are being monitored and allowed to burn are fully supported by the department.
The Game and Fish thanks the public for their cooperation with the emergency ban. Anyone with questions should contact the nearest regional office or call 307-777-4600.