The Union Pass Community Slash Pile is for the private landowners from the Union Pass Area subdivisions to pile woody debris generated by fuel reduction treatments from their properties no other materials may be put in the pile. Any garbage, refuge, old tires, or anything of this nature found in the pile will end the use of this site and may result in a fine for the person(s) responsible for the items. Treated wood and other materials generated from structure construction may NOT be placed in this pile. Informational signs and green metal posts will mark the location of this pile. The pile will be monitored for its size and may be burned throughout the year by US Forest Service fire crews depending on the weather and pile condition.
To help make this pile clean up easier, pile the slash as high as you can and keep it narrow at the bottom. This will make the pile easier to burn and it will also burn more completely. This pile will be monitored by private individuals who want to keep this pile as a tool in reducing hazardous fuels in the community and by the US Forest Service. Please follow marked routes for entrance and exit of slash pile site.
Funding for the slash pile upkeep during the summer months is provided by Fremont County Wildfire in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. Disposing of anything besides vegetation adds expense to the operation of the pile that is not affordable since items that are not trees or brush must be removed from the pile. Nails cause issues with equipment tires, and other items violate smoke emission standards at burn time.
Landowner Slash Disposal Information
During thinning operations limbs and branches will accumulate. This debris is called slash. Eliminating slash reduces fire hazards, improves aesthetics, helps develop grass and other vegetation, improves access for people, livestock, and wildlife and allows sunlight to reach the forest floor which improves regeneration. The slash disposal method you use will depend on cost, size, amount, location, and the final appearance desired. Four common methods of slash disposal are: loading and hauling, chipping, lopping and scattering, & piling and burning.
Loading and Hauling
Generally speaking, loading and hauling is the best option for most landowners who wish to dispose of their slash. The local community slash pile located at the gravel pit on Open View Road provides an excellent site for the accumulation of slash from residents in the Union Pass area. Trained professionals will burn the community slash pile during the winter months when conditions allow. These professionals possess the proper qualifications, experience, resources, and manpower required to safely handle a project of this complexity.
Chipping is the most expensive method of slash disposal. A machine reduces the branches to chips of various sizes. These chips eventually decompose and but represent a fire hazard for several years. Used correctly they also serve as mulch to hold soil moisture and aid in plant development. NEVER allow chips to accumulate more than one inch deep in any location, and never have chips in the defensible space.
Lopping and Scattering
This is the easiest and cheapest method of slash disposal. It involves cutting large branches into smaller pieces and scattering them over an area. However, for most people, this method is visually unappealing. It is necessary to cut the pieces small enough so all the slash is within 12 inches of the ground. This low slash provides less of a negative visual impact and also doesn’t inhibit walking.
Piling and Burning
If no other alternative is available, piling and burning can be accomplished through careful planning and execution. However, numerous risks are associated with this option and landowners should consult their local fire department for specific information before beginning to burn. Piling and burning is a way to eliminate a large amount of slash at moderate cost. Slash is piled in open areas for burning when snow cover is sufficient to prevent fire spread. The information provided below is only meant to be a guide for landowners to use when considering whether or not to burn their slash piles.
Slash Pile Burning Procedures:
When considering whether to burn a slash pile, a landowner should ask:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- What are my alternatives? (An alternative to slash pile burning would be to simply haul your slash to the local community slash pile where it can be burned by professionals with the experience and resources necessary to burn safely).
- What are the costs and risks of each option?
- What will I do if the fire gets away from me?
NOTIFY the County Sheriff’s Office of your intention to burn. This helps to prevent the fire department from needlessly responding to your controlled burned when neighbors or people passing by see the smoke and call the fire department.
Ensure there is no vegetation of any sort nearby that could potentially ignite from radiant heat or convective heat, i.e. trees, shrubs, or grasses. Cut a FIREBREAK all around the area to be burned. It must be to mineral soil, at least 2 feet wide in leaves and short grass, or at least 5 feet wide through tall grass and brush.
Obtain a current WEATHER FORECAST. Strong winds are dangerous. They can quickly increase fire intensity and rate of spread. Embers whipped up by the wind can start spot fires, and shifting winds can cause a fire to explode in a new direction. Stop if a strong wind comes up.
Have the right EQUIPMENT and enough HELP. Every burn is different, use your best judgment; you should have hand tools, water and several people as a minimum. For larger or more difficult jobs, a dozer or tractor, water truck with a pump, and plenty of hands are highly recommended.
Begin in a “test corner” where you can safely observe fire/smoke behavior and easily put the fire out if it doesn’t burn as expected.
Burn in winter or early spring when the fuel MOISTURE and weather are right. Leaves, grass and weeds, and small branches should be dry, but the soil and interiors of large branches should be moist. The slash pile should be completely surrounded by snow to help prevent escape.
Don’t leave until the fire is cold out (no smoke, no heat) and check the surrounding area for spot fires.
Use good judgment!
- Start early to reduce night smoke drainage and avoid the hottest part of the day.
- Dirty windrows of slash tend to smoke a long time; piles burn faster.
- Smoke tends to flow down drainages at night. Be aware of roads and houses that this might affect.
- Have an emergency plan if weather suddenly changes; be able to extinguish the fire.
- Mop up the fire after it has completely burned to be sure there is no potential for a reburn.
Keep in mind that an escaped fire can result in:
- Citation for reckless burning
- Both criminal and civil lawsuits according to Wyoming State Statutes
- Payment of fines, suppression costs, court costs and damages to adjacent landowners
- Bad feelings between you and neighbors
- Lawsuits from accidents resulting from smoke obscuring a highway or roadway
- Loss of a valuable management tool
2003 Wyoming Statutes
Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 3 – Offenses against Property
ARSON AND RELATED OFFENSES
6-3-103. Arson; third degree; penalties.
(a) A person is guilty of third-degree arson if he intentionally starts a fire or causes an explosion and intentionally, recklessly or with criminal negligence:
(i) Places another in danger of bodily injury; or
(ii) Destroys or damages any property of another which has a value of two hundred dollars ($200.00) or more.
(b) Third-degree arson is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years, a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or both.
(c) For purposes of this article, “property of another” means a building, or other property, whether real or personal, in which any person or entity other than the offender has an interest, including an insurance or mortgage interest, which the offender has no authority to defeat or impair, even though the offender may also have an interest in the building or property.
6-3-105. Negligently burning woods, prairie or grounds; penalties.
(a) A person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00), or both, if he, without permission of the owner and acting with criminal negligence:
(i) Sets fire to any woods, prairie or grounds or to anything on any woods, prairie or grounds which is the property of another; or
(ii) Allows a fire to pass from the owner’s woods, prairie or grounds to the injury or destruction of any property of another.
6-3-106. Failure to extinguish or contain fire in woods or prairie; penalty.
A person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00) if he lights a fire in any woods or on any prairie and leaves the vicinity of the fire without extinguishing it or containing it so it does not spread and is not likely to spread