Start Your Engines, But Don't Start a Fire

Large crowds and extreme fire danger are posing serious safety concerns for law enforcement at this weekend's sand drag events. If you're headed to the river this weekend, start your engines, but don't start a fire. Potter County Fire Department Chief Richard Lake says, "Burn barrels, no. Campfires, no. Pits, no. Piling wood up on the ground and burning it, absolutely not. There's no open flame allowed." You can still use a grill or a chiminea, though. Chief Lake says as long as it's something that allows you to contain the fire without an open flame, it's okay. Less than one inch of rain since October has officials extremely concerned.... Lake says in these dry conditions, even an exhaust pipe could spark a blaze. Couple that danger with increased crowds, and Sheriff Brian Thomas says there is the potential for trouble. Which is exactly why, for the first time, the Potter County Sheriff's Department will be directly involved in the event, sending between ten and fifteen deputies to the river. If you plan on taking part in the sand drags, make sure you follow all the rules, or you will be given a ticket. Parks and Wildlife's Steve Urben says, "They need to wear a helmet, and have eye protection and they also have to have an OHV decal which allows them to operate their vehicle in the river." At any given time, between twenty and thirty officials will be on duty this weekend.