Prolonged high temperatures coupled with below average precipitation for the summer has created favorable wildfire conditions across Nebraska and South Dakota.Due to these climatic conditions and heavy fire activity both regionally and nationally, the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands implemented Stage 1 Fire Restrictions on July 12 for all lands in Nebraska and South Dakota.
The purpose is to protect public health and safety due to the current and anticipated elevated risk of wildfire.
In Nebraska, the restrictions apply to the Bessey Ranger District in Halsey and the Pine Ridge Ranger District in Chadron.
In South Dakota, the restrictions are in effect at the Fall River Ranger District in Hot Springs, the Wall Ranger District in Wall and the Fort Pierre Ranger District in Fort Pierre.
The following are prohibited:
• Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire. This includes barbecues and grills. Except within developed recreation sites.
• Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
• Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester properly installed and in effective working order, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A kept with the operator, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.
• Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of at least 2A.
• Using an explosive.
If you have questions or concerns about the area you plan to visit, contact the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands Supervisor’s office at (308) 432-0300.
You can also visit this website for more details: www.fs.usda.gov/nebraska.