We’ve all enjoyed the bountiful precipitation the past few months and the lush green landscapes that have emerged. But as temperatures rise vegetation begins to dry, creating fuels that can create high fire dangers. To help protect wildlife habitat and other public lands, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department implements fire restrictions on department-managed properties where people camp and recreate.
“Just because there are limited fire bans doesn’t mean fires can’t still occur,” said Game and Fish Chief of the Habitat and Access Branch Ray Bredehoft. “Please remember to recreate responsibly and make sure your fire is completely out not only at wildlife habitat management areas and public access areas, but on all lands open to the public in the state.”
Anyone planning a trip to a WHMA or PPA can check a comprehensive listing of fire restrictions on the Game and Fish fire ban webpage.
Adhering to fire restrictions and safety is one of the ways the public can help prevent forest fires, which can be catastrophic.
“An action as simple as leaving a campfire’s warm ashes or littering a still-smoldering cigarette can cause a fire on the landscape. In July and August, they can grow quickly,” Bredehoft said. “Remaining cautious with anything that has an open flame or can burn, including stoves, matches and lighters to name a few, is extremely important for Wyoming’s habitat and wildlife.”
Campfires, stoves and other incendiary camping supplies are permitted on WHMAs as long as there are no restrictions or a fire ban is not in place. Campers must ensure the place they choose to have a fire does not threaten, cause damage or burn any property on the WHMA and must always remain under control.
“If allowed, campfires need to be attended at all times and be completely extinguished,” Bredehoft said. “This includes smoking materials like cigarettes.”
Littering and fireworks are not permitted on WHMAs. Campers and day users should review all regulations for WHMAs and PAAs on the Game and Fish website before setting up camp.
To ensure a campfire is completely extinguished, campers need to have plenty of water on hand. To make sure a fire is out:
• Allow wood to burn completely to ash.
• Pour lots of water on the fire to drown all embers.
• Pour water until the hissing sound stops.
• Scrape sticks and logs to remove any embers.
• Stir the ashes and embers with a shovel until everything is wet and cold to the touch.