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Officials cancel fire restrictions for county

Oct 26, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

The Fremont County Commission agreed unanimously to lift the fire ban that has been in place since the first week of July.

In a letter to commissioners, Fremont County fire warden Craig Haslam said he believed it would be appropriate to suspend fire restrictions in the county because of the time of year, current fuel conditions and recent moisture.

"I feel that the Fire Restrictions helped to alleviate the fire danger in Fremont County this year," Haslam said in his letter, dated Oct. 17. "Due to the heightened awareness level of the residents of Fremont County and their adherence to the fire ban we were fortunate to not have had a worse fire season than the one that we experienced."

"I would concur," commissioner Travis Becker said regarding no longer needing the restrictions.

Commissioner Keja Whiteman asked that the Bureau of Indian Affairs be notified about Fremont County lifting its ban to assure there would be no confusion about fire restrictions still in effect on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Restrictions on the reservation will remain in place through Dec. 31 or until conditions improve.

Commission chairman Doug Thompson agreed with Whiteman, adding that municipalities will also be informed about the county's restrictions being terminated.

In his letter Haslam also thanked commissioners for their assistance in enforcing the restrictions.

Fire bans were implemented statewide during the summer months because of the extreme drought conditions. Recently, state officials declared this year's wildfire season one of the worst in the Cowboy State's history after more than 14,000 fires scorched more than half a million acres.

The Alpine Lake Fire on the reservation was among the largest fires in the state this season having burned more than 46,000 acres.

Fire bans were first implemented locally on the reservation in late June. Fremont County officials followed suit, executing restrictions a few days later after commissioners made an emergency vote by telephone.

Commissioners cited "an extreme danger of fire" as the need to restrict usage.