Be responsible this summer.
It happens every year and this year looks to be potentially one for the record books in terms of wild fires. The hot temps and gusty winds have created a monster that is just waiting for a mistake, careless act or unattended campfire. We know that campfires are one of the pleasures of camping in the gorgeous Wyoming wilderness. We all love a good campfire. However, we need to be careful when deciding when and where to build a campfire. And most importantly, we need to be sure and do our part to put every fire ALL THE WAY out. Here are some tips to keep those fires safe this summer:
Before starting that fire:
Use an existing fire ring. If one isn't already available at your campsite be sure and build your fire ring with good sized rocks.
Clear all flammable materials near the fire pit. This can be needles, leaves, sticks, or anything that would easily catch fire.
When choosing the location of your fire pit, pick an open level spot. Be sure it is away from logs, trees, stumps, overhanging branches, dense dry grass, and forest litter. Again - anything that could catch fire.
Be smart about how large the fire is. The larger the fire is, the harder it is to control.
Prepare before you start your fire and keep lots of water nearby. Camping near water is generally a good idea. Also keep a shovel near the fire just in case you need to throw dirt on the fire if it gets out of control.
And arguably the most important: Never leave a campfire unattended! It takes very little for a fire to spread. A small breeze, flammable objects left to close to the flame, or even a fire poking stick set down haphazardly... All of it can quickly cause a fire to spread. Make sure a responsible adult is always keeping a watchful eye.
When putting out your campfire:
First, drown the campfire. Don't be stingy with that water.
Next, grab a stick or pole and mix any remaining ashes and embers with the soil & mud at the bottom of the pit. Scrape any partially-burned sticks and logs to make sure all the hot embers are off them. All it takes is a loose ember from a smoldering log to start a forest fire.
Stir the whole pit - ashes, embers, sticks, mud, all of it and make sure that everything is good and wet.
Get your hands dirty. Feel the coals, embers, and any partially-burned wood with your hands. Everything should be cool to the touch, that includes the rocks surrounding the fire itself. Be sure that there are no embers or hot ashes under the rocks surrounding the pit.
You might think you’re done, but hey, let's take an extra minute and be absolutely sure. Add more water.
Finally, give the whole area around your fire pit a once over and just be sure there are no loose smoldering embers lying about. All it takes is a spark.
We get it. That's a lot of steps just to take care of a fire. But trust us, it’s worth that extra time and effort. You really don't wanna be that guy who started a devastating forest fire. Get and out and really enjoy the beautiful outdoors here in Wyoming. But be smart. Let's all do our part to keep forest fires from happening.
Many people are always asking whether fire bans are in place or not and it is incumbent upon the outdoor recreationalist to know the status of these rulings. To date (July 8, 2020) only private lands within Fremont County have a fire ban. This was instituted by the Fremont County Commissioners on Tuesday, July 7th 2020. There are no closures pertaining to BLM or USFS lands at this time in the Lander area. However, please note, that this can change at any moment so keep these numbers handy and check the status of fire restrictions before heading out:
· Bureau of Land Management – Lander office 307.332.8400
· USFS, Shoshone National Forest – Lander office 307.332.5460
Written By: Alyx Raven Zgurich