Avoid highway barrow ditches when burning

Residents planning a controlled burn should avoid highway rights-of-way or be liable for damage caused. High temperatures, low humidities and wind all create wildland fire danger today in Fremont County. Wyotoday.com Photo by Ernie Over

Citizens conducting a field burn are not only responsible for what happens on their own property, they may also be held criminally and civilly liable from damages to federal and state property, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

This includes, but is not limited to, right-of-way fencing, said WYDOT District Engineer Pete Hallsten of Basin.

“From WYDOT’s perspective, the safety of the traveling public, workers and volunteers in the rights-of-way is first and foremost in decisions made regarding activity on or along the state highway system,” said Hallsten. “The situation of burning highway rights-of-way generates safety concerns for the traveling public by the potential of limited visibility caused by low-hanging smoke and damage to fences, signs, sign posts, guardrail and permitted utilities. Damage to any of these items may increase the potential for a crash or otherwise jeopardize the safety of the highway user.”

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Landowners, conservation districts, and others who plan to conduct prescribed burning activities are strongly encouraged to check the latest weather forecast by calling the National Weather Service toll-free at 1-800-211-1448. They should inform local government officials, including county sheriffs’ offices of burn plans as well.

For more information about current and forecast weather conditions, visit the NWS Riverton website at weather.gov/riverton, or go to wyoroad.info for road conditions and remote weather information.

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