The Wyoming Air National Guard will send two military air tankers to Boise, Idaho to help fight wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest.
The planes are equipped with a special fire-fighting device called a MAFF –which stands for Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System and can drop up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds.
Deidre Forster with the Wyoming Military department says that sending the planes to the northwest will not impact Wyoming’s own fire-fighting abilities.
Fire danger rose to a “high” rating this week for both Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park, due to a combination of warm weather, low humidity and strong winds.
Traci Weaver, a spokeswoman for Bridger-Teton, says that dry vegetation and a higher-than-usual number of lightning strikes already posed a fire risk… But campers have abandoned more than 100 campfires this season, compounding the danger. Weaver urges campers to be responsible forest stewards.
For the last month, state officials have expressed concern about Wyoming’s dry winter and the possibility of another bad fire season. But with the moisture the state has recently received, the question is whether that concern has been reduced. Bill Crapser is the state forester and he tells Bob Beck that having more moisture has helped.