Five Questions With… Jim Wamsley, RSFD Chief

Just in time for the Fourth of July, Rock Springs Fire Department Chief answers five questions for Wyo4News.


  1. Where can people set off fireworks for the Fourth of July?

The discharge of fireworks are illegal in the City of Rock Springs, as well as on all federal lands. Fireworks can be discharged in Sweetwater County on Private Lands with written permission of the property owner  The City Ordinance is below:

“It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, company, corporation, or association to offer for sale, expose for sale, sell, possess, use or explode any toy cannon in which explosives are used; the type of balloon which requires fire underneath to propel the same; firecrackers, torpedoes, sky-rockets, Roman candles, bombs, or other fireworks of like construction or any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound or tablets or other device commonly used or sold as fireworks containing nitrates, chlorates, exalates, sulphides of lead, barium, antimony, arsenic, mercury, nitroglycerine, phosphorus or any compound containing any of the same or other explosives, or any substance or combination of substances or articles prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation, except that this Ordinance shall not prohibit the use of toy cap pistols or sparklers.”

  1. What are the penalties for setting off fireworks in prohibited areas?

The violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor – a fine of up to $750.00; however the costs for suppressing the fire can also be added to the violation

3-306 Penalty For Violation:Any person violating any of the provisions of sections 3-301 – 3-305, inclusive, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, to which may be added the costs at the discretion of the Court.

  1. What is the fire risk this year?

Although the heavy snows form last winter have saturated the ground, there is still a risk of fireworks starting fires both in the grass and sage as well as homes and other structures. With the warmer weather and drier conditions, the fine fuels such as grass will easily ignite and carry a fire. Spent fireworks are also very hot and can start a fire if they land in or on vegetation and buildings.

  1. What are some firework safety tips for people to follow if they do choose to use them?

First and foremost follow the directions on the item – some of the materials in fireworks burn at 2,500 degrees or higher and can result in loss of limbs, blindness, and severe burns.

If you are in an area where you can discharge fireworks – and have written permission to do so – make sure that you have an area cleared of all grass and other vegetation to prevent accidental fires.

Keep handy a source of water to extinguish any fire and cool spent fireworks after use. A garden hose and 5-gallon bucket of water should be the minimum.

Remember to be safe and responsible and considerate to those around you.

  1. Do you think construction will have an impact on response times?

The construction is a challenge to emergency response; however the general public seems to be very accommodating of responding apparatus. The Rock Springs Fire Department is strategically staging apparatus within their response areas to maintain response times as effectively as possible. The Rock Springs Fire Department is making every effort to minimize the impact to response times. We are also cooperating with neighboring agencies to help with this in all of our responses. The Rock Springs Fire and Rock Springs Police Facebook pages have additional information about the construction.

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