Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes
Reporter Photographer 

Council passes fire ordinance


Tuesday evening, the Thermopolis Town Council approved, upon third and final reading, Ordinance 845 regarding recreational outdoor burning.

The ordinance, which takes effect Dec. 1, states no fire permit is required for outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and other recreational fire appliances, provided they meet the ordinance guidelines.

The guidelines state solid fuel burning appliances may only be fueled by cut or split firewood. A recreational fire is an outdoor fire with a total fire area of three feet or less of diameter and two feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes. Outdoor grills, barbecues and charcoal grills are exempt.

Materials such as rubbish, construction materials, paper products, yard debris, branches, leaves, garbage and similar materials cannot be burned unless a written permit is obtained from the fire chief or his designee.

Fires in outdoor fireplaces should be no closer than 15 feet to a building or combustible materials, and an appliance must have a screen or spark arrestor in place while burning. Fires shall not be within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material if not in an appliance, and any condition which would cause the fire to spread to within 25 feet of a building shall be eliminated prior to ignition.

A fire extinguisher of at least a 4A rating or a charged water hose must be in close proximity to the appliance while burning, and fires must be constantly attended by a person knowledgeable in the use of extinguishing equipment provided. Fires shall not be ignited on days where Red Flag warnings are issued or burning is banned by order of the mayor, or on days when winds create a hazardous condition. Fires can be ordered discontinued if they are determined to be hazardous or a public nuisance.

With regard to recreational fires, they can be done only on privately owned property, and anyone who has a recreational fire is responsible for any damage caused. Bonfires shall require approval through the mayor and council.

In other action, Mayor’s Assistant Fred Crosby was approved to seek another two-year agreement with the State of Wyoming. Crosby explained the latest temporary agreement, which expired Nov. 11, is for hot water taken between the bathhouse and Teepee Pools. He further noted there is no fee for the water, but there is for a permit.

Applications from Toddi Darlington and Wesley Whipple were approved for the Big Horn Basin Nature and Discovery Center Board. Darlington is the joint county/town representative, and Whipple is the town representative. Each appointment is for three years.

Also during the meeting, Economic Development Company (EDC) CEO Amanda Moeller spoke to council. She noted a recent survey that had 101 respondents, and the EDC is looking at where to go from there. At the forefront is teaming with Town Council, County Commissioners and Main Street to develop one common strategic plan for economic development. She asked if there were anyone on council interested in joining the group, and members Dusty Lewis and John Dorman Sr. expressed interest.

Moeller noted there a lot of plans that cover a variety of points, and they get put on the shelf, and this plan would deal with economic development only and what can be done in the coming years; the plan would be regularly reviewed and updated as needed.

Greg Willson, the corporate secretary for the EDC said it’s important for everyone to get on the same page. He noted there are some independent entities in the town that tend to be narrow focused and doing their own thing without looking outside; this can lead to multiple entities doing the same thing or working against each other and not even realizing it. He sees this as an opportunity for collaboration and to determine where we want to be.

Mayor Mike Mortimore expressed concern that this was simply another study, though Moeller stressed it is not a study but rather input from the different organizations to determine what direction they want to go.


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