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Fire restrictions in place after wildland fire last week

WASHAKIE COUNTY — Due to dry conditions and high fire danger, Stage 1 Fire Restrictions will begin July 28 on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management Wind River/Bighorn Basin District’s Cody, Lander and Worland field offices in Big Horn, Carbon, Fremont, Hot Springs, Natrona, Park, Sweetwater and Washakie counties.

Firefighters were able to catch the Bonanza Fire, southwest of Hyattville, with a quick coordinated response the afternoon of July 23. The fire burned 762 acres in grass and the cause is under investigation.

Resources on the ground and air were provided from the BLM, agencies from Washakie and Big Horn counties, Bighorn and Shoshone national forests. 

The fire was called in just after noon on July 23 and was considered contained at 7 p.m.

The fire restrictions that were put in place Monday “are the result of current and projected weather conditions, amount of dry vegetation, and coordination with our fellow wildfire cooperators throughout the area,” said BLM Fire Management Officer Fred Tucker. 

Hot, dry conditions and high fire danger have prompted the prohibition of the following activities: 

•Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire except within agency-provided fire grates at developed recreation sites, or within fully enclosed stoves with a ¼” spark arrester type screen, or within fully enclosed grills, or in stoves using pressurized liquid or gas. 

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

•Operating a chainsaw without a U.S. Department of Agriculture or Society of Automotive Engineers approved spark arrester properly installed and working, a chemical fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces capacity by weight, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches. 

•Using a welder, either arc or gas, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame, except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter with a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than 8 ounces capacity. 

These fire restrictions are in addition to the year-round wildfire prevention restrictions on BLM-administered lands throughout Wyoming, which include: 

•Discharging or using any fireworks. 

•Discharging a firearm using incendiary or tracer ammunition. 

•Burning, igniting, or causing to burn any tire, wire, magnesium, or any other hazardous or explosive material. 

•Operating any off-road vehicle on public lands without a properly installed spark arrester pursuant to 43 CFR 8343.1 (c). 

•Use/discharge of explosives of any kind, incendiary devices, pyrotechnic devices or exploding targets. 

“It is important we all do our part to prevent unnecessary risks of wildfire starts. Failure to comply with fire restrictions on federal lands is punishable by law. Those found responsible for starting wildfires will also face restitution costs for suppressing the fire,” Tucker said. 

For more information on BLM fire restrictions or conditions, contact your local BLM office or visit 

There are currently no restrictions on U.S. Forest Service land in the area. However, as of late last week, Bighorn National Forest fire officials were actively working to suppress the Gem Lake Fire that started July 14 from a plane crash. The fire started about 2.5 miles southeast of Willow Park Reservoir on the Powder River Ranger District.  The location is remote, and the terrain is rocky and steep. Suppression is primarily being done with aerial resources and crews are looking for options to safely engage the fire on the ground. On Monday, the Forest Service reported that weekend moisture helped and this week fire crews are working to build containment lines with the help of aviation resources.

The Cody Interagency Dispatch Center is showing the fire at 21.13 acres.

There are currently no fires in the Shoshone National Forest. According to Shoshone National Forest Public Affairs Officer Kristie Thompson, “Smoke from fires in Montana and Idaho moved into northwest Wyoming during the early morning hours of July 19. There are no active fires on the Shoshone National Forest. Fire danger levels continue to increase vegetation dries out.”