PINEDALE – With smoke wafting in the air and 842 men and women fighting the Fontenelle Fire, the Sublette County Board of Commissioners signed a resolution for partial closure on the use of open fires and incendiary devices in the county at its regular meeting on Tuesday.
The fire ban is for an indefinite period of time and is due to the “presence of excessive amounts of inflammable materials, and fire danger is extremely high; and the high fire danger in Sublette County is aggravated by open burning and the use of incendiary devices,” the resolution reads.
Within the boundaries of the county, burning open fires in banned, as is discharging fireworks and all outdoor fires in unimproved areas. Sublette County Fire Warden TJ Hunt and the commissioners have restricted other fire-based activities.
Trash or refuse fires are permitted between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., but burning must take place in a container with spark arresters, located in an area cleared of brushy or dry materials within a 10 foot radius.
Residents may use charcoal fires provided it is in an enclosed grill.
The use of acetylene cutting torches or electric welders are permitted, but must be used in a 10-foot radius cleared of flammable material. The same goes for propane or open fire branding activities. In both instances, operators must carry a fire extinguisher and a shovel.
While the commissioners were in favor of signing the resolution, Commissioner John Linn disliked one aspect of the resolution, namely section two, which states fire can only be used in established fire rings in campgrounds. Linn felt this restricted residents from using their personal barbecue pits and fire rings.
Hunt agreed that people should be able to use their pits, but said enforcement was a major concern.
“Are we going to go around and establish everyone’s fire ring?” a haggard-looking Hunt asked.
A brief exchange regarding the difficulty of enforcing the ban in general resulted in the commissioners amending the resolution to strike the word “campgrounds.”
Section two of the resolution now reads, “Campfires contained within an established fire ring in cleared area, 10 feet in radius, are permitted.”
Those who choose not to follow the ban may face a fine of $100 or less or imprisonment in the Sublette County Jail for up to 30 days.
Before the commissioners voted, Hunt reiterated he was against the amended section two and would rather have it stay the way it was. The resolution passed, but Commission Chairman Joel Bousman voted nay based on Hunt’s disagreement with section two.
With thunderstorms in the forecast, there was no word on when or if the commissioners are planning to lift the fire ban, but, as part of the resolution, Hunt is ordered to notify the commissioners when the fire threat has decreased enough to lift the ban. Final approval on lifting the ban must be signed and approved by all three commissioners.
Also at the meeting:
• The commissioners awarded beer permits for several vendors during the month of July.
Water Hole No. 3 was awarded a catering permit for the July 7 tractor pull in Big Piney, the Lions Club will be serving beer for the Rendezvous Pageant on July 15 and the Daniel Community Center is permitted to serve beer at the “Old Timer’s Picnic” on July 22.
• The next meeting is July 17 at 9 a.m. in the County Commissioner’s Room in Pinedale.