Sweetwater County Enters into Fire Restrictions

Sweetwater County Enters into Fire Restrictions

SWEETWATER COUNTY — Sweetwater County will be entering into Stage 1 fire restrictions on public and private lands, effective July 9, 2021.

Sweetwater County Fire Warden Mike Bournazian approached the Sweetwater County Commissioners Tuesday to get approval to enter into Stage 1 fire restrictions. The Commission approved the request 4-0.

Despite not personally favoring restricting people’s access to having fires, Bournazian said that the hot weather and dry fuel conditions merited the request.

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“It’s not [a request] that I’m happy to bring to you,” Bournazian said. “It is evident that we are at the parameters… that it would be the right thing to do to enter into fire restrictions at Stage 1.”

He added that all the fire chiefs in the area have met and are all in agreement with entering into restrictions. Bournazian believes this fire season will be long and dry.

Stage 1 fire restrictions are as follows:

  • Discharge of fireworks and all outdoor fires are prohibited in unimproved areas of Sweetwater County.
  • Only campfires at residences or campsites, within a fire ring centered within a minimum of a 15 feet cleared radius of burnable materials are permitted.
  • Trash or refuse fires between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., inside containers provided with a spark arresters and located within a cleared radius of a minimum of 15 feet of burnable materials are permitted.
  • Charcoal fires within enclosed grills are permitted.
  • Use of acetylene cutting torches, electric arc welders, or metal grinding in a cleared radius of 15 feet of burnable materials are permitted.
  • The use of portable stoves, lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, pressurized liquid fuel or fully enclosed (sheepherder type) stove and open fire branding activities in a cleared radius of 15 feet of burnable materials is permitted.

The Ashley National Forest and Uinta County have already entered into Stage 1 restrictions, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) High Desert District plans to enter into them when Sweetwater County does. Teton, Carbon, and Sublette Counties are also approaching their county commissioners this week with the recommendation to enter into Stage 1 fire restrictions, Bournazian said. He added that state lands are already have a fire ban.

“We’re trying to do this collectively together,” Bournazian said.

The fire restrictions will be in place starting Friday, July 9, as to give the public a heads up before they go into effect. The Commission will also give Bournazian authority to enter in and out of restrictions, or move into Stage 2 restrictions if necessary, in accordance with the BLM.

Bournazian explained that the counties and federal partners all work together, and that the BLM’s fuel modeling resources are what the counties use to make decisions regarding fire restrictions. He said they are science-based, and all of the fire wardens and chiefs use that science in their decision making.