The Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands has ordered Stage 1 Fire Restriction in the Pine Ridge, Fall River, and Wall Ranger Districts as well as the Oglala and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.
The restrictions were imposed because of the increasing severity of the drought, the condition of hazardous fuels, and forecasts of continued hot and dry weather. They will remain in effect through the end of the year unless rescinded.
Violations can be a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization and more than 6 months in jail. If a violation is responsible for a wildfire, suppression costs could also be added.
Stage 1 Restrictions ban fires, including charcoal briquettes, not in permanent metal or concrete fire pits or grates in developed U-S Forest Service recreation sites such as campgrounds and picnic areas.
Smoking is prohibited except in buildings or enclosed vehicles, developed recreation sites, or an area at least 3-feet in diameter barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Operating a chainsaw requires an effective and properly installed approved spark arrestor and users must have a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and a shovel.
Welding or using a torch with open flame must be done in a cleared area at least 10-feet in diameter and with a fire extinguisher at hand.
Blasting or use of any explosive, including exploding targets, is prohibited under the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, but shooting firearms remains an allowable activity.