(Courtesy of Wyoming State Forestry)

With drought conditions at an extreme, residents are asked to take extra care when recreating to help prevent wildland fires in the state. The Wyoming State Forestry division says this year, close to 500,000 acres have burned in Wyoming. Many of these fires have been caused by lightning, however, there is an increase of human caused fires throughout the country, Wyoming included.

Hunting season and outdoor fall activities brings an increase for the potential of human caused fires. You can do your part to help reduce the threat of wildfire by following these simple steps during these extreme dry conditions.

Check local fire restrictions before you leave for the outdoors. Most of the counties in Wyoming are still under fire restrictions, as well as many areas in the National Forests. As a reminder, open fires are always prohibited on State Trust Lands.

Never leave a campfire unattended. When it is time to turn in at camp, or leave to scout in the morning, take the time to properly extinguish your campfire.  Do not just bury your fire. Simply covering a fire with dirt may allow embers to continue to smolder and spread under windy conditions.

Ammunition. Consider the type of ammunition and targets you are using. Minimize the risk of fires by not using steel-jacketed ammunition, ammunition with steel-core components, tracer rounds or exploding targets in fire-prone areas.Smoking. When it is time to put out that cigarette, be sure to completely extinguish it by crushing the butt in dirt or sand. Carry a coffee can of sand with you to extinguish and store

Operating ATV’s/UTV’s. Using an ATV while hunting can be fun and efficient, however before taking off be sure that your ATV is equipped with a spark arrestor. The devices work by trapping larger hot exhaust particles that have been expelled by internal combustion engines. Parking your vehicle. Just because we have trucks that can go off road, does not mean that it is a great idea to park them there. When the time comes to park the rig and head out on foot, be sure that your vehicle is not parked in tall dry grass or other vegetation. Catalytic converters and hot exhaust systems can easily spark a fire.