Fire restrictions issued on Crow Indian Reservation – Sheridan Media

BIA Crow Firefighters are asking our communities to help prevent wildfires during the 4th of July holiday, often our busiest weekend of the year.

The Crow Tribe issued Monday evening (June 28) “Phase 1” fire restrictions similar to those already in effect for the summer in Big Horn and Yellowstone counties and nearby national forests.

These restrictions prohibit open burning or campfires, except for cultural or agricultural uses that call for and receive a permit.

The grass is at a tipping point.

Still slightly green, it wasn’t burning fast, but with this week of heat the fires will suddenly spread much faster than they have this spring.

Fireworks aren’t banned, but they can cause dangerous and costly wildfires, especially on this hot week.

Fireworks also spit poisons into the air and grass, and burn people every year.

Any fireworks wildfire on trust (tribal) or royalty (non-tribal) land may result in the person who started it being quoted and billed for the cost of extinguishing the fires.

Even small fireworks like sparklers and poppers can start a fire.

With drought and heat, a small spark can grow several acres in minutes. “We started with mountain fires here this year, which means the land is extremely dry,” said fuels specialist Randy Pretty On Top. “Once the grass is brown, we can get really busy.”

“We ask everyone to be extremely vigilant and take safety measures to prevent human-caused wildfires,” said prevention specialist Lee Old Bear. To reduce the risk:

· Campfires and open fires are now prohibited on the reservation by Crow Tribe and Big Horn County “Stage 1” fire restrictions except for cultural or agricultural uses who call ahead and obtain a burn permit at 638-2247. Propane stoves are permitted.

· Alone careful adults should already touch the fireworks. Keep adults, plenty of water and a shovel nearby. Use them only where no grass can catch a spark.

· Avoid driving and parking in tall grass. Hot exhaust pipes and catalytic converters can start grass fires in seconds. Maintain proper tire pressure. Driving on rims can cause sparks.

· Properly attach chains to trailers or equipment. Sparks from trailing chains ignite grass fires. Carry a shovel, a few gallons of water and a fire extinguisher in your car all summer.

· Mow around houses when it is cool. Remove all tall grass from your garden.

· Smoking should only be done in a closed vehicle or on dirt or pavement, never on grass. Use an ashtray!

“Our fire danger is already very high,” said Tracy Spang, acting fire management officer. “It’s essential to keep respect for the fire – stop it before it starts.”

Even with last week’s rain, our grass and wood are still drier than average for July 1, closer to conditions found in late July or August.

High temperatures reach 100 degrees Thursday through Saturday and continue into the 90s the week after July 4.

“The 4th of July is a popular weekend to get outside,” Old Bear said. “We want everyone to have a happy, healthy and safe holiday weekend. It starts with all of us helping. Call 911 when you see someone unsafe with fire.

Nohemi M. Moore