With fires popping up around the state, the U.S. Forest Service is reminding people to use basic fire safety.

Due to the late spring and early summer precipitation throughout the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland, the drying patterns in those areas were delayed and fuels have not posed significant fire danger.  Now, though, the Forests are becoming increasingly dry as a result of low precipitation and high temperatures. These dry fuels combine with high winds and lightning storms to increase the risk of fire danger.

“Conditions are changing. We are seeing the afternoon thunderstorms kind of come back, and some of those storms might have some dry lighting in them,” says U.S. Forest Spokesman Aaron Voos. “The fuels are drying out, be it grass or brush—site specific what the fuel type is—but just overall as summer comes to a close, things are starting to dry out and we’re not seeing the same amount of moisture as we saw to start the summer.”

Voos says the fire danger will vary greatly within the Medicine Bow National Forest and in the surrounding areas.

In Wyoming, the Bureau of Land Management, in coordination with the county cooperators, recently implemented partial fire restrictions in the Casper area due to dry conditions and high fire danger.

Although there are no current fire bans on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, it is important for all Forest users to be aware of the possible dangers and to be especially careful with fire use.

The Forest Service has provided some basic fire safety rules that should be followed at all times:

  • Scrape back dead grass and forest materials from your campfire site.
  • Keep your campfire small and under control; make it only as big as you need it.
  • Keep a shovel and a water container nearby to douse escaped embers.
  • Put your campfire dead out before leaving your campsite or going to sleep.
  • Do not park vehicles in tall dry grass, since hot tailpipes can cause fine fuels to catch on fire.
  • Remember that any ignition – cigarettes, campfires, gunfire, vehicles – could be the cause of a wildland fire, as grass and other vegetation is dry and extremely flammable.
  • Always follow current fire restrictions.
  • Fireworks are not allowed on federal lands.

To report a wildland fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest or the Thunder Basin National Grassland, please call the interagency dispatch centers below in Casper at (307) 261-7691.