Nebraska state park areas and wildlife management areas in Cherry County are temporarily banning campfires as drought conditions have triggered extreme fire danger.

The following areas will have campfire bans until further notice:

  • Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area
  • Cottonwood Lake SRA
  • Bowring Ranch State Historical Park
  • Smith Falls State Park
  • Anderson Bridge, Ballards Marsh, Big Alkali Lake, Borman Bridge, Chat Canyon, Cottonwood/Steverson, Merritt Reservoir, Rat and Beaver Lake, Schlagel Creek, and Shell Lake WMAs

Additional parks may be added if drought conditions persist. Because of regularly changing conditions, guests also should call park areas prior to arrival to determine whether a fire ban is in effect. Parks will make determinations by working with local emergency managers and fire departments.

Those recreating in areas where campfires are allowed should use extreme caution and take precautions, including keeping fires small, contained in provided fire rings, always attending fires, and having a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of spread. Campfires should be properly extinguished with water until all coals have completely cooled.

For more information about the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, visit