Sheridan, Wyo. (August 12, 2013) – Bighorn National Forest fire managers are asking the public to make every effort to prevent human-caused wildfires. With the last few weeks of the summer season still to go and the Labor Day holiday approaching, it’s a busy time for visitors to the national forest, and for the Bighorn’s firefighters.
As of August 12, firefighters have responded to six forest fires on the Bighorn. Four were started by lightning and two were escaped campfires.
“Fires caused by lightning are something we expect and prepare for. Human-caused fires are 100 percent preventable,” said fire management officer Jon Warder. “Fire danger in the Bighorns is high, meaning there’s potential for large fires.”
While this year is milder than last year in terms of weather and fire danger, fire season on the Bighorns typically lasts until the middle of September.
“With another month of fire season to go and with hot daytime temperatures in the forecast, forest users should be especially careful with campfires. Never leave a campfire unattended, and before leaving your campsite, make sure the ashes are cold to the touch,” said Warder.
“Anyone identified as abandoning a campfire or leaving it unattended for any length of time risks federal citations as well as liability for costs associated with the resulting wildfire response,” said Warder.
The Forest Service recently enacted a ban on exploding targets in five western states, including Wyoming. These targets, which explode when struck by a bullet, often result in a fireball that can ignite vegetation and surrounding materials. Exploding targets have been identified as the cause of at least 16 wildfires in the western states. The special order banning exploding targets is available from the Bighorn’s website at www.fs.usda.gov/bighorn/.
No fire restrictions are in place for the Bighorn National Forest.
To report a wildfire, call Cody Interagency Dispatch Center at 800.295.9954 or call 911. For information about forest conditions, contact Bighorn National Forest offices in Buffalo at 307.684.7806, Lovell at 307.548.6541, or Sheridan at 307.674.2600.