Just a couple of weeks since winter-like weather conditions closed a section of I-80 in southeast Wyoming, wildfire season in the western US is well underway and local authorities are implementing restrictions to prevent new fires from starting.

Mills Fire Chief Dave North on Wednesday put in place a fire ban that includes open fires and bonfires. No fireworks of any kind may be used within Mills town limits.

Also Wednesday, the Natrona County Fire District announced it will suspend all open burn permits due to unseasonably dry conditions, effective Monday, June 29.

The temporary ban in Mills, which is already in effect, does not apply to propane grills, commercially-designed cooking grills or other designed, portable appliances that meet IFC 2018 standards.

No open flames are allowed within 25 feet of combustible materials, and within 25 feet must be kept a means of extinguishing the fire. An adult must be present to supervise.

Smoking in Mills is restricted to vehicle interiors or inside of structures as well as designated smoking areas. Cigarette butts must be carefully disposed of in an approved receptacle.

Anyone using a cutting torch or working on a welding project must clear the immediate area and undertake a fire watch for no less than 30 minutes after the job is done. The area must be cleared of combustible material for at least 25 feet and a method of extinguishing any fire must be immediately available.

The Natrona County Fire District suspension applies to slash piles, fence lines, ditches and broadcast burning of open fields. Officials are asking all county residents to complete their open burning this weekend (June 27-28) and prepare for further fire restrictions.

Within the county, recreational fires, camp fires, and fires in approved containers with a spark arrester.

Wyoming has already seen two significant wildfires in 2020. The first burning just less than 600 acres near Wapiti, west of Cody in Park County. The second fire scorched over 11,000 acres in Johnson County on mostly private land.

Casper firefighters and Natrona County fire units responded to a small wildland fire near Amoco and East Road on Wednesday. The blaze evidently began after a model helicopter malfunctioned.

The Casper Fire-EMS Department pointed out a couple of things on its Facebook page Wednesday afternoon:

  • With the unseasonably dry conditions, any source of heat near wildland fuels (grass) can instantly cause a fire. Take caution with any heat source - power equipment, hot vehicle exhausts, smoking materials, barbecue grills, and yes, even model helicopters. And always abide by any burn restrictions or bans posted on local agency pages and in media.
  • Brush trucks are smaller, lighter, off-road capable firefighting apparatus. They come in many shapes and colors. Please, if you see a brush truck responding with lights and sirens activated, give it all of the respect and room that you would any emergency vehicle. Drive aware, look and listen. You can help us make a difference by allowing us to access and attack a fire quickly.
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