Camping, fire restrictions expected to lift in the Bighorns

Before Memorial Day weekend

SHERIDAN — Andrew Johnson, forest supervisor for the Bighorn National Forest, said Wednesday he expected the regional closure order for developed recreation sites and the restrictions on campfires to lift before Memorial Day weekend.

Johnson told members of the forest’s Steering Committee and attendees of the committee’s virtual meeting he expects those types of decisions to revert back to local forest authorities moving forward.

Johnson noted that developed sites on the Bighorn National Forest would, when the regional order is lifted, begin opening in a phased approach that considers both normal conditions like snowmelt and considerations around providing a safe work environment for staff at those facilities and the public. That ability, he said, will rely heavily on the availability of appropriate personal protection equipment like facemasks.

The forest supervisor did not expect to make other broad-based restrictions on developed recreation sites this summer, but said site specific restrictions will be considered.

Regarding fire restrictions, moving forward, normal factors like moisture levels will be considered, but Johnson added that his threshold for entering fire restrictions later in the summer will likely be lower as he considers risk management around COVID-19, too.

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