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LARAMIE — The U.S. Forest Service has banned campfires and stove fires in the Medicine Bow National Forest in Albany County, except in grates and grills installed in developed campgrounds.

Diann Ritschard, a spokeswoman for the forest, said the measure was aimed at preventing forest fires, such as the Isabelle Fire near Lake Owen that burned about 1,200 acres earlier this month.

"Even though some areas of the forest look green, they don't have a high moisture," Ritschard said. "Even if they look green, they can burn fast and hot."

Violating the forest's fire restrictions could result in a $5,000 fine and six months in jail.

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Dry conditions have prompted fire concerns throughout the state, and Albany, Goshen, Laramie and Platte counties have already imposed fire restrictions.

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