Wyoming late to burn its slash piles this year

Mar 7, 2013

Slash piles around the state are still intact in Wyoming, which is unusual. Slash piles are made of accumulated debris from clearing forests or trimming trees and typically by this time in the year, they’ve been burned.

The Fire Management Officer for the Wyoming State Forestry Division, Ron Graham, says they’ve started burning piles in the Casper Mountain, Muddy Mountain, and Black Hills area, but low snow pack has delayed the burning.

“Typically we start burning slash piles throughout the state as winter conditions and snowfall become adequate,” says Graham. “A lot of times we start doing this in areas of the Snowy Range as early as December. Of course this year with lack of snowfall and later snowfall we haven’t been able to get in and burn some of those piles that we normally can earlier in the winter.” 

He says that’s a concern because the piles are another fuel source for potential wildfires.

“That fuel is a jackpot of fuel on the ground, where it exists in a slash pile. So we’ve eliminated the fuel from the standing dead trees, put them into a slash pile, but now it’s a new fuel source out there that we still need to eliminate,” says Graham.  

Graham says they might not burn all the piles in the state before the start of the fire season.