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Commission downgrades fire ban

Modified: Tuesday, Oct 9th, 2012

TORRINGTON – Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law announced Tuesday the Goshen County Commission approved changing the full fire ban to a partial fire ban on all state and private land in the county.

“Conditions are still dry,” Law reminded residents in a statement. “All residents, landowners and outdoorsmen need to apply common sense and practice fire safety with camp fires and outdoor burning.”

Law added Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality rules and regulations regarding smoke should also be taken into account. Questions about air quality issues should be directed to 307-777-7346.

A partial fire ban means the discharge of fireworks is still banned. There should be a clear zone established for trash and refuse fires along with spark arrest units. Campfires should always be built in established campground fire rings. There is a more complete description of all county fire regulations at the Fire Warden’s office, which can be reached at 532-7952 or by emailing Bill Law at blaw@goshencounty.org.

Residents, landowners and others interested in burning are reminded to call the Torrington Dispatch Center at 532-7001 when they plan a burn. Give the dispatcher your location, when you plan to start and when you have it extinguished.

In other action:

Lisa Johnson, executive director of the Goshen County Economic

Development Corporation, presented an analysis on tourism in the county. Johnson reported tourism as a $32.7-million industry in Goshen County based on spending in five industries: lodging, food, gas, arts/entertainment and retail. The Wyoming Office of Tourism stated 280 direct tourism jobs have been created in the county, which accounts for $4.3 million.

Travel seemed to grow as hotel occupancy rates were high. However, local attractions like the Fort Laramie National Historic Site have reported a significant decline in visits. Attendance at the Fort Laramie Rendezvous event dropped about 50 percent since last year.

“We need to build a really compelling brand to market our county,” Johnson said.

The commission approved a resolution supporting a grant application for a fiber optics study connected to the statewide broadband data development program. Officials are seeking to apply for a $50,000 planning grant from the Wyoming Business Council with additional funding from the High Plains Economic Development District.

Gary Korell, Road and Bridge superintendent, said workers should be finished with mowing this week. He added this is the earliest to his recollection mowing has wrapped up, attributing the fact to a mostly dry year.

Korell said Oneok is starting to remove equipment in the southern portion of the county and will continue working north. He continues to work with the energy company on road maintenance and repair as needed.

The next regular commission meeting begins at 9 a.m. on Oct. 16 at the Goshen County Courthouse.

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