Fire ban in place after rowdy July 4 period

Jul 11, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

Until further notice, the Fremont County Commission has immediately instituted numerous fire restrictions after weeks of dry weather and an Independence Day period that brought dozens of fire calls.

Discharge of Class A, B and C fireworks has been banned on all state and private land in the county.

Except for campfires in an established pit and trash burned at night, openpit fires are also banned.

No fire restrictions were instituted last summer until August.

Ironically, the wet winter has exacerbated fire risks by leading to a growth of grass weeds that have now dried out.

"The cheatgrass this year is extremely high this year," said Fremont County Fire Warden Craig Haslam, who asked for the restrictions to be in place.

Haslam said the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Affairs are expected to instituted similar restrictions on land they control.

The upcoming fireworks show for Riverton's Rendezvous Days will be exempt from the restrictions.

Riverton fire chief Cory Higgs has helped coordinate that event and will oversee its safety, with firefighters on duty at the display site

After fireworks led to numerous fires countywide on July 4, Fremont County Commission chairman Travis Becker said one resident asked him to ban fireworks permanently.

No commissioners supported that proposal Tuesday, but Commissioner Clarence Thomas said the county might need to "take responsibility for those things that need to be regulated" if further irresponsible behavior continues into the future.

"Liberty only comes on the back of responsibly and accountability," he said.

The current fire restrictions are also subject to the current exceptions:

- Charcoal fires within enclosed grills

- Use of acetylene cutting torches or electric arc welder, provided the torches are conducted within a cleared area with at least a ten foot radius

- Use of chain saw provided the chain saw has spark arrested properly installed and functioning

- Federal, state or local fire or law enforcement officers participating in fire, emergency and law enforcement activities

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

- Agricultural irrigated land.

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