WPR News
9:35 am
Mon October 6, 2008

Gunbarrel fire is the largest beneficial use fire in Rocky Mountains

Laramie, Wyo. – The Gunbarrel fire west of Cody was the largest "beneficial use" fire ever in the Rocky Mountain region. That's a fire that is allowed to burn as a natural means of clearing the forest of dead timber.

The fire, which started in July, is mostly out now, but officials say the eastern flank is still smoldering.

Russell Wenke of Park County Fire District Two says it was a good idea to let miles of the dead trees burn. But the sheer duration of the fire got on people's nerves.

"It was quite a trying thing, but we were very successful," Wenke said.

Wenke says in some areas, officials had no choice but to let the fire burn because of the rugged terrain and the fast speed that it was moving.