Wildfire danger in Sweetwater County

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Wyo4news Staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING — Fire District #1 and the BLM High Desert District would like to remind residents of the increasing fire danger in Sweetwater County. Firefighters in Southwest Wyoming and around the state have seen an increase in fire activity over the past few weeks. The Residents of Sweetwater County should not be deceived by the afternoon rainfall we have been receiving and how green the landscape may appear. The predicted weather pattern calls for continued warmer and drier weather for Southwest Wyoming, causing live fuel moistures to continue to drop to critical or near critical levels throughout the county, which will allow the dead grass and smaller fuels to carry fire and spread at an increased rate.   

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These patterns have caused an increase in fire danger for Sweetwater County. When determining fire danger, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees; projected weather conditions including temperatures and possible wind events; the ability of fire to spread after ignition; and availability of firefighting resources across the country. Over the last ten years, wildfire activity has been some of the most catastrophic in U.S. history: in 2021, more than 7.1 million acres burned throughout the country. Fire District #1 and BLM reminds residents to be fire-wise and follow these safety tips when enjoying the great outdoors.  

Be responsible with campfires. Campfires that aren’t properly maintained and extinguished can cause wildfires.

  • Never leave your campfire unattended
  • Always keep a shovel and water nearby

When extinguishing your campfire, use the “drown, stir and feel” method: drown the fire with water and stir around the fire area with your shovel to wet any remaining embers and ash. Shovel dirt onto the campfire site and mix and smother thoroughly. Feel the area with the back of your hand to make sure all the heat is out. Repeat the process until you are sure there is no more heat left in the campfire.

Lawnmowers, weed eaters, chain saws, grinders, welders, tractors, and trimmers can all spark a wildfire.

  • Keep the exhaust system, spark arrestors, and mower in proper working order and free of carbon buildup.
  • Use the recommended grade of fuel.
  • Don’t drive your vehicle on to dry grass or brush.

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Motorists are responsible for many wildfires sparked along the roadways. Nearly all of these fires could be prevented by following these simple safety rules.

  • Secure safety chains on all towing equipment.
  • Use appropriate safety pins and hitch ball to secure chains.
  • Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained:
    • Proper tire pressure can prevent a blowout, exposed wheel rims will throw sparks.
    • Properly maintained brakes, brakes worn too thin can cause metal-to-metal contact which can cause sparks.
  • Avoid parking or driving in dry grass and brush. Hot exhaust pipes and muffles can start a fire.

Target shooting can cause fires.

  • Avoid shooting into rocks or metal objects and place targets in areas free of vegetation.
  • Have a shovel, water, or fire extinguisher ready in case a fire starts.
  • Exploding targets, incendiary rounds and tracer ammunition and fireworks are illegal on public lands.

To report fires on public or private lands call 911. To report fires on public lands you many also contact the Bureau of Land Management at 1-800-295-9953.

If you choose to get out outside and enjoy your public lands this summer, please be safe, be responsible and prevent human-caused wildfires. 

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