Officials with the Bighorn National Forest have issued safety reminders and general information for those whose plans for the Fourth of July holiday include a visit to the Forest.
People can celebrate Independence Day by getting outdoors for a hike, ride or camping trip, but before setting out, they should check the weather forecast and be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms, lightning and high winds. They should also let others know where they’ll be and when they plan to return.
All campgrounds on the Bighorn National Forest are open, but reservations are encouraged. In observance of the Independence Day holiday, Bighorn National Forest offices will be closed Friday.
Cell phones don’t work in most areas of the Bighorns, so don’t rely on a cell phone for communications.
Motorized travel is restricted to designated and signed roads and motorized trails. Those planning to use off-highway vehicles should ensure those vehicles are registered properly.
Those using campfires are reminded to put those fires out completely. Although no fire restrictions are in place yet, the weather forecast this year is trending to be hotter and drier than in the last few years, and people are asked to check with the local Ranger District office or go online for the most up-to-date information on fire conditions.
Fireworks are illegal on the National Forest 365 days a year. Also, federal regulations prohibit discharging a firearm in or within 150 years of a developed recreation site or occupied area, or across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water.
People are reminded to be bear-aware. Black bears roam throughout the Bighorns and can be aggressive when defending food or cubs. People are reminded to store food and other items that could attract bears inside a building, a vehicle or a bear-resistant container, carry bear spray and keep it handy.
To make campground reservations, go online to www.recreation.gov.
A free Motor Vehicle Use Map can be obtained online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE DOCUMENTS/fseprd712789.pdf.
The latest information on fire conditions is available online at the
Forest’s website, https://www.fs.usda.gov/bighorn.