FOREST SERVICE ISSUES STAGE 1 FIRE RESTRICTIONS

Forest Service News Release

Entirety of Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland to enter Stage 1 fire restrictions

Campfires are only allowed in USDA Forest Service approved and installed fire pits/grates, or gas-fueled devices with an on/off switch.

(LARAMIE, Wyo.)  September 7, 2022 – Stage 1 fire restrictions will go into effect Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, for all the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland (MBRTB).

This includes National Forest System lands located in Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, and Routt counties in northwest Colorado; Albany, Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Crook, Natrona, Niobrara, Platte, and Weston counties in Wyoming.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service has communicated with all affected counties, state agencies, and neighboring federal land managers on the timing of the restrictions.

Going into restrictions is not taken lightly by the Forest Service. Restrictions are necessary due to dry fuel conditions, persistent fire weather patterns, and the danger of human-caused wildfires. Recent dry and hot weather conditions have resulted in an elevated potential for wildfires. Fire restrictions will help protect public health and safety, as well as natural resources.

The following prohibitions are in effect until further notice:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire.  This includes barbecues, grills, and portable braziers.
    • Except: Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed USDA Forest Service recreation sites. Additionally, the use of portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, pressurized liquid fuel or a fully enclosed (sheepherder type) stove with a ¼” spark arrester type screen is permitted.
  • Smoking
    • Except: Within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  • Operating a chainsaw
    • Except: With a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A kept with the operator, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.
  • Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame
    • Except: In cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of at least 2A.
  • Using an explosive

Personal, portable wood or charcoal burning fire pits/rings, often made of stainless steel, are not allowed under these restrictions. Campfires are only allowed in USDA approved and installed fire pits/grates, or gas-fueled devices with an on/off switch.

Violation of these regulations is punishable as a class B misdemeanor, by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.  Anyone negligently or willfully starting a wildland fire could also be held responsible for the costs of that fire.

The Laramie Peak portion of the Medicine Bow National Forest and the Thunder Basin National Grassland have been in Stage 1 fire restrictions since July 26 of this year.

Not uncommon in recent years, the MBRTB has now been in Stage 1 restrictions at some point in four of the last five years.

Fall hunting seasons are underway, and hunters are reminded that all restrictions apply to all visitors. Even seemingly insignificant, small warming fires can be the cause of wildfires.

Forest staff will continue to monitor conditions to assess the need for further action, including additional restrictions if weather remains hot and dry and lessening restrictions if a wetter and cooler weather pattern develops.

Call or visit your local office for site-specific information.

  • Brush Creek-Hayden Ranger District, Saratoga, Wyo., (307) 326-5258
  • Douglas Ranger District, Douglas, Wyo., (307) 358-4690
  • Hahns Peak-Bears Ears Ranger District, Steamboat Springs, Colo., (970) 870-2299
  • Forest Supervisor’s Office & Laramie Ranger District, Laramie, Wyo., (307) 745-2300
  • Parks Ranger District, Walden, Colo., (970) 723-2700
  • Yampa Ranger District, Yampa, Colo., (970) 638-4516

To report a wildland fire, please call the interagency dispatch centers below:

  • Routt National Forest:
    • Craig Dispatch Center, (970) 826-5037
  • Medicine Bow National Forest, Thunder Basin National Grassland:
    • Casper Dispatch, (800) 295-9952

Additional information may be found on our website or you can follow the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland on social media: @FS_MBRTB on Twitter or @FSMBRTB on Facebook.

-USDA-