Wall and Hot Springs, SD. (July 19, 2021) Due to forecasts of continuing dry and warm conditions, continued drought, multiple wildfires throughout South Dakota and continued increase of visitor usage, the NNFG enters Stage 1 Fire Restrictions beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Stage 1 fire restrictions limit certain activities and where and what type of fires visitors can have. This Forest Order covers the Buffalo Gap National Grassland, Fall River and Wall Ranger Districts and will remain in place until rescinded. The purpose of this Order is to protect public health, safety, and natural resources by preventing wildfires. Areas near the Buffalo Gap National Grassland have already implemented fire restrictions or are in the process of placement of fire restrictions, these include the Black Hills National Forest, Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands; Fort Pierre and Pine Ridge Ranger Districts including county burn bans in Jackson and Jones Counties.
The following is PROHIBITED under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:
- Igniting, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire (including fires fueled by charcoal or briquettes) outside of a permanent metal or concrete fire pit or grate that the Forest Service has installed and maintained at its developed recreation sites (campgrounds and picnic areas). 36 CFR § 261.52(a).
- Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials. 36 CFR § 261.52(d).
- Operating a chainsaw without an effective and properly installed USDA- or Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)- approved spark arrestor, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum 8 oz. capacity and rating of 2A) kept with the operator, and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use. 36 CFR § 261.52(j).
- Blasting, welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame without being in a cleared area of at least 10 feet in diameter and keeping a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum 8 oz. capacity and rating of 2A) with the operator. 36 CFR §261.52(i).
- Using an explosive. This includes but is not limited to fuses, blasting caps, fireworks, rockets, exploding targets, tracers, and incendiary ammunition. (Fireworks are always prohibited on National Forest lands). 36 CFR § 261.52(b).
- As determined by previous Forest Shooting Closure Orders: Discharging a firearm is prohibited in both Conata Basin on the Wall ranger District and Railroad Buttes on the Fall River Ranger District.
Violation of Stage 1 fire restrictions could result in a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for more than six months, or both. If responsible for causing a wildfire, one could be held accountable for suppression costs of that fire. 16 U.S.C. § 551 and 18 USC §§ 3559 and 3571.
The signed Forest Order