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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Office
 
Release Date: 05/09/13
Contacts: Peggy Truman    
  307-347-5207    

BLM Fire Management Shares Ways to Prepare for the 2013 Wildfire Season


The Wind River/Bighorn Basin District (WRBBD) Fire Management team is providing information and checklists to make the Bighorn Basin more fire safe.

“As a Bighorn Basin community member you can take precautions to prevent wildfires,” said WRBBD Fire Management Officer, Chuck Russell. “Not only will following and applying these guidelines help improve the chances of you preventing a wildfire, they also aid a firefighter by creating a safe place for them to work if a wildfire occurs. 

Here are some things that can be managed.

When burning irrigation ditches and weeds or brush piles:

  • Notify the County Sherriff’s office and your neighbors when and where you will be burning.
  • Never burn on a day when weather conditions might change.
  • Access the NOAA website to get the weather predictions for the afternoon or evening of the dates you plan to burn. If there are predictions for increased wind or temperature or decreased relative humidity DON’T BURN!
  • Burn between 8 AM and sunset only. Never let an unattended fire burn during the night.
  • You or a competent representative should be in constant attendance until all fire is extinguished.
  • Have firefighting equipment—sacks, shovels, rakes, pitchforks, water, and garden hoses (if practical) available at the place you are burning.
  • Have your County’s fire department phone number in your cell phone contacts in case you need to call in a fire. 

When using equipment that could generate sparks that would start a fire:

  • Never park your vehicle on dry grass and avoid driving through tall grass.
  • Grease trailer wheels, check tires, and ensure safety chains are not touching the ground.
  • Internal combustion engines on off-road vehicles should have a spark arrester. Check and clean the spark arrester.
  • Carry a shovel and fire extinguisher in your vehicle or OHV/ATV.
  • When welding (or operating acetylene or other open flame torch), do so only in an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials at least 10 feet on all sides of the equipment and have an ABC fire extinguisher available for use.
  • Have your County’s fire department phone number in your cell phone contacts in case you need to call in a fire. 

To help firefighters gain access to a wildfire to protect lives and property: 

  • Remove flammable vegetation extending at least ten feet away from both sides of your driveway and access roads. Overhead obstructions such as overhanging branches and power lines should be removed or raised to provide at least a fifteen foot vertical clearance.
  • Homes located at the end of long driveways or dead-end roads should have turnaround areas large enough to accommodate large fire equipment. Turnarounds can be cul-de-sac with at least a forty-five foot radius or a location suitable for a three point turn.
  • Use signs or fencing to indicate the location of septic tanks or leaching fields to prevent damage to both property and equipment.
  • Use signs to indicate where the well house and other water sources are located on the property.
  • For firefighters, getting to your structure is half the battle. Having proper road signing ensures that firefighters can find your home and structures in the event there is a wildfire event. Signs should be at least four inches in height and be made of reflective non-combustible material. Having your address visible from the road is also important when firefighters are trying to locate your home. As with the road signs, your address sign should be at least four inches in height and made of reflective non-combustible material.
  • Inadequately built bridges, culverts, and cattle guards can be disastrous for heavy fire equipment that may be trying to access your property. When building and installing these items, ensure that they are rated to support equipment such as fire engines. Whenever possible, post the allowable weight limit in a visible location.
  • Even though you will be curious and worried about a wildfire, avoid driving your car or even walking to watch firefighters and/or firefighting efforts. In many cases, firefighters must stop fighting fire because onlookers are in dangerous areas or homeowners’ vehicles have blocked road access to the fire. Most air support equipment, such as helicopters and single engine air tankers, will not be able to drop water or retardant if you are in the area. If firefighters ask you to leave the area, they are asking you to do so because they are concerned for your safety!

For more information on how you can make your property more fire wise go to: www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/Fire.html or at www.firewise.org/.



The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
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Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Office   101 South 23rd Street      Worland, Wyoming 82401  

Last updated: 05-09-2013