While fireworks will be legal for Fourth of July on private land, Wilde asked folks to consider going without them this holiday season.
“We’re suggesting people skip it this year,” said Wilde, who is the Cody fire marshal. He cited the potential “for small fires to become big fires.”
Powell Fire Chief Joey Darrah also discouraged people from setting off fireworks, but asked that if they do, they find a safe place.
In a Monday statement, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead noted the more than 1,400 men and women currently fighting fires in Wyoming and similarly urged citizens to refrain from using fireworks and be extremely careful with anything that could cause a fire.
“Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes already this year and some have lost homes and cabins. We need to keep these people and the firefighters in our thoughts and prayers and each of us needs to be personally responsible by doing everything possible to prevent fires,” Mead said. He’s asked every county to implement fire restrictions and 18 of 23 counties had as of Monday.
In a Monday interview, Park County Commission Chairman Tim French said the commission will likely adopt county restrictions on fires at its meeting today (Tuesday), with the proposed restrictions potentially taking effect on the morning of Thursday, July 5.
“We’ve got a critical fire situation right now in the county,” French said. “I mean, it’s so dry and with these continued hot winds, one fire that gets away from somebody could be catastrophic.”
The restrictions the county will consider would include further limiting the use of fireworks, allowing campfires only within fire rings, limiting trash burning to nighttime hours and, if the county adopts Wilde’s suggestion, potentially temporarily barring controlled burns on agricultural land.
The last time the county put fire restrictions in place was 2007.
As for people shooting off fireworks over the Fourth, “I would recommend everybody be super careful,” French said.
The regional Bureau of Land Management is implementing fire restrictions effective today (Tuesday), while Yellowstone National Park, the Shoshone National Forest and the Bighorn National Forest implemented restrictions on Friday, Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Restrictions on the federal lands include limiting fires to designated fire grates, though portable gas, jellied petroleum, pressurized liquid fuel or fully enclosed stoves with a spark arrester screen are still allowed. Smoking is being limited to inside vehicles, developed areas or where no flammable material in a three feet diameter; Yellowstone is barring smoking altogether in the backcountry and on trails.
State Parks, State Lands and the Game and Fish Department have also banned open fires on lands they manage.
Nearly all of Wyoming’s state parks have banned campfires altogether, but Buffalo Bill State Park is excepted from that restriction, allowing fires in designated fire rings as usual.