Despite snow at higher elevations and cooler overall temperatures, National Forest visitors and particularly hunters, are advised to use caution when building and maintaining campfires.
Always make sure that campfires are thoroughly extinguished before leaving a fire unattended. This is effectively done by stirring coals and other burned materials with water until cool. Even if your fire is a relatively small warming fire, the fire should be dead out before you leave the site.
Two recent, small wildfires on the Routt National Forest were escaped campfires which were not fully extinguished and required the attention of Forest Service fire crews. Should warm, dry, or windy conditions align with receptive fuels, the potential for wildfire development and growth exists, even though this time of year is not typically prime wildfire season.
Additional fire safety messages from the U.S. Forest Service to Forest recreationists are below. Hunters, 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.
- 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 wildland fire, as grass and other vegetation is dry and extremely flammable.
- Always follow current fire restrictions.
- Fireworks are not allowed on federal lands.
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, (307) 261-7691
For more information contact your local Forest Service Office, go to our website at fs.usda.gov/mbr, or follow the MBRTB on Twitter, @FS_MBRTB.