New fire restrictions for public lands in Sheridan, Johnson, and Campbell counties will go into effect Friday. Those counties been dry and hot in recent weeks, and lightning strikes have caused two fires in the area.
The new Bureau of Land Management restrictions will prohibit things like building fires outside of designated fire grates and smoking on public lands.
“We really have a lot of fires from lightning right now, so every human-caused fire that we can prevent will help us with our fire suppression efforts,” said Carmen Thomason, a fire education specialist for BLM Wyoming, adding that even something as small as heat from a car’s exhaust can start a fire.
“It seems pretty easy to pull over to the side of the road, to stop for lunch, take a photo, you know, check something in your trailer,” said Thomason. “Parking in tall dry grass that can get up underneath your vehicle, it can really heat up with either your exhaust from your vehicle running or just sitting in that grass. And we get quite a few fire starts that way.”
The use of fireworks on BLM lands is prohibited year-round.
The BLM currently has additional resources stationed around the state to combat fires–including four single-engine air tankers, two fire trucks, and one helicopter.