Sheriff Urges Residents to Use Caution While Burning

(Cody, Wyo.) With the lack of moisture in the Big Horn Basin and the unusually dry conditions, Sheriff Scott Steward is again reminding all residents to use extreme caution when deciding where and when to conduct an agricultural (controlled) burn on their property. “Agricultural burns can be an efficient and effective way of clearing land and irrigation canals of unwanted weeds and debris,” Steward said. “But they can also present an extreme hazard to persons and property if they are not conducted properly.” Cody Fire Warden Russ Wenke recommends residents following these simple guidelines when conducting agricultural burns: Make a plan. Before lighting the main fire use a trimmer or mower or conduct small burns to create a fuel break around anything you don’t want to burn. Place some of this fire line or “black line” around structures, gated pipes, heavy fuel accumulations like manure or corrals, and along property boundaries. Check the weather forecast to see what type of weather is coming. An approaching front will normally bring strong, dry southwest winds, which will switch to the west and then the north. Usually any moisture arrives far too late to help control your fire. Don’t ever count on the wind to be consistent. Always plan for a possible wind shift. Mornings are normally calmer, with higher humidity and lower temperatures. Start burning then. Keep the area you are burning small. Don’t get more area burning than you can safely control if conditions worsen. Keep shovels, hand sprayers, hoses and buckets on hand as this will help you keep the fire under control. Call 911 as soon as you suspect you may have lost control of the fire. If you have any doubts, call immediately. You will be asked to provide the location, a phone number, size of the fire, and any threat to structures. Then stay out of harm’s way. Residents are reminded that they are responsible for any and all damage that may result from their burn should it get out of hand. Also, residents are required to call the Park County Sheriff’s Dispatch at 307-527-8700 to report their intention to conduct a controlled burn. Be prepared to give your name, the exact location of the burn, a phone number where you can be contacted and exactly what you are burning (trash, field, ditch, etc.). This is to prevent the fire department from being dispatched should your burn be reported by a passerby. Then contact the dispatch center again when your burn is completely out. That way, in the event it re-ignites, the fire department can be dispatched. Additionally, if you live within the Cody city limits, a written permit is required and in fact outdoor burning is generally only allowed for persons needing to maintain open irrigation ditches. If you have any questions, please contact the Sheriff’s Dispatch at the above listed number. #reboot #news