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Tough to escape Fremont County heat
Brooke Robb, 11, of Fort Duchesne, Utah, sought shade from the sun under an umbrella during the Eastern Shoshone Days powwow Saturday in Fort Washakie. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

Commissioners to consider partial fire ban

Jun 26, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

The written proposal could be considered at the board's July 3 meeting.

Fremont County Fire Protection District chief Craig Haslam is recommending county commissioners impose a partial fire ban in light of ongoing concerns with high heat and low moisture.

Talking to commissioners during their regular meeting June 26, Haslam described conditions for fires as "very high to extreme throughout the county," while "fuel moistures are very low."

The recommended partial fire ban will "at least get people to the point that we're in fire danger" and be aware of the conditions.

Fremont County has so far escaped any ignitions, but nearby fires burning this week include ones near Pinedale and Ten Sleep and another in Johnson County, Haslam said.

Commissioners seemed to agree with the recommendation, but they wanted to know in writing what a partial fire ban would entail. Haslam said it would involve fire in designated areas only.

With the Fourth of July around the corner, Haslam said he is not recommending a ban on fireworks. U.S. Forest Service lands, where significant burn concerns exist, already have a prohibition on fireworks, he said.

"There it's already illegal to do it," he said.

Elsewhere in the county, "I guess I'm not quite at that point. I want to see what the weekend brings" in terms of weather and fire activity.

Haslam said primary concerns involve fires in forests and "silly people doing some really silly things."

He told commissioners that 40 fires escaped their fire pits.

Commission chairman Doug Thompson said Haslam can bring the partial fire ban in writing to the next commission meeting July 3.

"I think it's appropriate," Thompson said.

Haslam said weather officials told him that the weather will stay consistent throughout the summer.

"There is no relief in sight," he said. "They're saying even into August right now our weather patterns are going to stay the same."

Although the Wyoming National Guard has activated its emergency fire response, additional support may arrive for the area in case of fire.

Haslam said the Bureau of Indian Affairs may get more support soon, while authorities may use Hunt Field in Lander to base a single-engine aircraft for firefighting purposes.

If fire erupts into forests ravaged by the pine beetle, "it's going to be very dangerous, fast-moving," Haslam said.

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