Hunters Should be Aware of Dry Ground Conditions

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Hunters Should be Aware of Dry Ground ConditionsDespite some much needed moisture over portions of the state in July and early August, the Rural Fire Danger Index in several western and central counties remains high. With conditions like this, hunters are encouraged to keep up with the daily fire danger index, as temperature and wind forecasts can restrict some outdoor activities.

As of Aug. 25, four counties had banned open burning, which includes campfires, and another dozen were monitoring conditions based on the fire danger index, red flag warnings and other factors.

Counties have the authority to impose restrictions beyond those indicated by fire danger index guidelines. These restrictions apply regardless of the daily fire danger index, and remain in place until each county’s commission rescinds the ban.

Hunters are encouraged to use extra caution to prevent fires, and should carry a cell phone in the vehicle, along with shovels, fire extinguishers, extra water and heavy fabric for putting out accidental fires. However, individuals who are not trained firefighters should not attempt to fight a fire that is out of control. Instead, contact the nearest fire department immediately.

The daily fire danger index is issued by the National Weather Service to alert the public to conditions that may be conducive to accidental starting or spread of fires. The index can change from day to day depending on temperature, wind and precipitation forecasts.

The daily fire danger index can reach into the extreme category when the NWS daily forecast calls for hot temperatures and high winds. If the index reaches the extreme category, open burning is prohibited; off-road travel with a motorized vehicle is prohibited, except for people engaged in a trade, business or occupation where it is required; and smoking is restricted to inside of vehicles, places of habitation and areas cleared to mineral soil.

Information on current fire danger indexes is available through the NWS Internet site at, the Game and Fish Department’s website at, or county sheriff offices.

Hunters should contact the respective county’s emergency management office or sheriff’s department to find out about fire-danger-related restrictions in a particular county.