County fire ban lifted
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
October 22, 2012
Fire restrictions for private land in Teton County have been lifted after several dry, dangerous months.
Teton County commissioners approved a request to lift the partial fire ban at a special meeting Thursday. The move came a week after Teton Interagency Fire officials eased rules on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and in Grand Teton National Park.
“The precipitation we received and moisture levels throughout the county made it so lifting restrictions now is appropriate,” said county spokeswoman Charlotte Reynolds.
The county had been under a partial fire ban since early July. Officials even cancelled the annual Fourth of July fireworks because of fire danger.
The rules regulated everything from campfires to smoking to chainsaw use. People were required to use spark arresters on chainsaws and were told exactly where they could weld, smoke and build fires.
Despite the restrictions, a large fire broke out near a home in Horsethief Canyon in September. Investigators still haven’t released details of how the fire started except to say it was human-caused. The blaze burned more than 3,300 acres.
Even though restrictions have been lifted for the county, officials still urge caution. They are still concerned about grass at lower elevations and brush fuels, which they said remained volatile.
People should have water and the appropriate tools to put out a fire should a stray ember escape, Reynolds said.
National Park Service and Forest Service officials said that even though the partial ban is lifted, rules are still in place governing fires, including regulations that prohibit anyone from abandoning or failing to fully put out a campfire.
Rules also prohibit fireworks, burning hazardous materials and operating off-road vehicles that don’t have spark arresters.