Burn ban expanded

Fireworks prohibited in town, throughout county

BY SARAH PRIDGEON

Very high temperatures and a continued lack of rain across the county have caused the fire danger level to be raised to extreme, causing burn bans to be introduced around the county and local firework displays for July 4 to be cancelled.

The extreme conditions have led to Fire Warden Gari Gill instituting a full open fire burning restriction for all of Crook County, prohibiting open burning of any kind and use of fireworks until the restrictions are lifted. The ban excepts towns, cities and National Forests, all of which are responsible for placing their own burning restrictions.

Sundance will, however, follow the county burn ban and, according to City Treasurer Kathy Lenz, Fire Chief Blair Stugelmeyer has suspended all fireworks until further notice. The council, following discussion at last month’s meeting, will be looking at doing something for New Years instead, says Lenz.

Keyhole State Park has also instituted an open fire ban, with charcoal grills of any description forbidden at the facility, although propane grills are still permitted. Keyhole joins Guernsey, Glendo and Bear River state parks in instituting open fire bans.

The annual professional fireworks display at Keyhole, provided by the Pine Haven Volunteer Fire Department and scheduled for July 7, has also been cancelled, thanks to the extreme dry conditions. For more information, please call State Park Headquarters at 777-6323.

Crook and Weston counties have experienced several wildfires recently, the largest being a 2,000-acre fire in Weston County. The decision to cancel the fireworks show, says Gill, is based on the current susceptibility of the area to wildfires.

Five fires have been tackled in Crook County over the last week, all of which are now contained, says Jim Pridgeon, Homeland Security County Coordinator. Work to put out one of these fires is, however, ongoing, as of publication time on Tuesday, on a ranch in Colony, where the cottonwood trees are burning above ground level.

A 100-acre fire at Crow Peak, South Dakota, is still growing at time of going to press and estimated at 25 percent containment. Believed to have been caused by lightning, the fire began on Saturday, three miles southwest of Spearfish, and continues to burn in steep, rugged terrain.

According to Pridgeon, county firefighters are on call for the Crow Peak fire. Work is in progress to channel it to the west, where there is a large firebreak.

For more information about the county burn and firework ban, contact the County Fire Warden office at 307-283-2390 or 283-1441.