Amidst drought, Wyoming expects a huge influx of visitors (safety tips)

Public lands use: a picture of a camping van
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Public land managers are expecting a huge influx of outdoor visitors to Wyoming this summer, The Rocket Miner / Wyoming NewsOpens in a new tab. reports.  Their expectations are based on two trends that have come into play:  There has been an increasing interest in outdoor recreation over the last decade and following the Covid 19 pandemic, many travelers feel safer enjoying outdoor activities for their vacations.  State facilities and the National Forest attractions are already seeing a spike in visitors.

In the midst of this trend which is good for tax revenue and businesses, the U.S. Drought MonitorOpens in a new tab. shows much of the state to be experiencing abnormally dry conditions or some levels of drought, ranging from moderate to extreme.  About 89% of Wyoming is abnormally dry, with some fishing restrictions enacted as a result.

Some public lands such as the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park are requiring reservations for camping sites.  Congestion, improper food storage, waste disposal and unattended campfires are some of the problems that public lands officials are worried about.  There were reportedly 280 unattended campfiresOpens in a new tab. in the north end of the Bridger-Teton National Forest last year that fortunately did not trigger a major fire but officials are anxious about what could happen this year.

Wildfire Prevention & Fire Safety Tips.

Campers should remember Smokey Bear’s five rules for preventing wildfires:

  1. Only you can prevent wildfires.
  2. Always be careful with fire.
  3. Never play with matches or lighters.
  4. Always watch your campfire.
  5. Make sure your campfire is completely out before leaving it.

Nine out of ten wildfires are caused by humans.  “Smokey for Kids” gives even more guidelines for safe campfiresOpens in a new tab. that are good for adults to follow, too:

  1. Make sure you are at a site that allows campfires.
  2. Make sure there are no burn bans and it’s not too windy.
  3. Dig a pit away from overhanging branches.
  4. Circle the pit with rocks.
  5. Clear a 10-foot area around the pit down to the dirt, removing anything that could catch on fire.
  6. Stack extra wood upwind and away from fire.
  7. After lighting, throw the match into the fire.
  8. Never leave a campfire unattended; an adult should supervise the campfire at all times.
  9. Keep a bucket of water and shovel nearby.
  10. Never put anything but wood into the fire.
  11. Do not pull sticks out of the fire.
  12. Do not sit on the fire ring or rocks around the campfire. They will heat up quickly and they’ll stay hot for a long time.
  13. When it’s time to put the fire out, dump lots of water on it, stir it with a shovel, then dump more water on it. Make sure it is COLD before leaving the campsite. If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!

How to Put Out a Campfire If You Don’t Have Water.

If you’re hiking and discover an unattended fire, you might not have enough water to properly put it out.  You can still put it out with dirt.  It’s easier if you have a shovel, as shown in the following video by “The Overland Diaries.”




Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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June 15, 2021 9:39 pm
The predicted influx makes sense, especially considering Covid-19 where we’ve been inside for so long. People want to be outdoors naturally, and our family also wanted to do some RV traveling with the family, but we just haven’t gotten to it.…But I understand the concern about the large amount of people – particularly newbies, comes safety issues. Like the article states, safety knowledge on properly putting out a fire, sanitation, and basic courtesy is needed. I think implementing reservations was a good idea.

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