Recent Dry Conditions Equal Low Elevation Fire Danger on MBRTB

By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region
By: Wonderlane

Recent abandoned campfires and past spring wildfires on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland (MBRTB) have prompted U.S. Forest Service officials to issue statements regarding fire safety to Forest users.

Until spring fully commits itself to greening up vegetation on the MBRTB, there will be varying levels of fire danger at low elevations due to dry flashy fuels.

Warmer-than-average temperatures and high winds have been prevalent recently, which has led to snow melt and the rapid drying of vegetation at low elevations. Grass and brush benefited from a good moisture year in 2014 and those abundant fuels are now fire prone until green-up takes hold. Dry grass and brush can readily burn and carry fire quickly, thus the flashy fuel designations and the fire danger messages.

The U.S. Forest Service wants outdoor adventures to be enjoyed, but reminds visitors to be especially careful with fire use.

Although no fire restrictions are currently in place on the MBRTB, campers and other public land users need to follow basic fire safety rules.

  • Scrape back dead grass and forest materials from your campfire site.
  • Keep your campfire small and under control; make it only as big as you need it.
  • Keep a shovel and a water container nearby to douse escaped embers.
  • Put your campfire dead out before leaving your campsite or going to sleep.
  • Do not park vehicles in tall dry grass, since hot tailpipes can cause fine fuels to catch on fire.
  • Remember that any ignition – cigarettes, campfires, gunfire, vehicles – could be the cause of a wild land fire, as grass and other vegetation is dry and extremely flammable.
  • Always follow current fire restrictions.
  • Fireworks are not allowed on federal lands.

For more information contact the following Forest Service Offices, visit our website at http://fs.usda.gov/mbr, or follow the MBRTB on Twitter, @MBRNFsTBNG.

–          Brush Creek-Hayden Ranger District, 2171 Highway 130, Saratoga, WY, (307) 326-5258

–          Douglas Ranger District, 2250 E. Richards Street, Douglas, WY, (307)358-4690

–          Hahns Peak-Bears Ranger District, 925 Weiss Drive, Steamboat Springs, CO, (970) 870-2299

–          Laramie Ranger District, 2468 Jackson Street, Laramie, WY, (307)745-2300

–          Parks Ranger District, 100 Main Street, Walden, CO, (970) 723-2700

–          Yampa Ranger District, 300 Roselawn Avenue, Yampa, CO, (970)638-4516