forest fires

Rebecca Huntington

In the summer of 1988, 36 percent of Yellowstone National Park was on fire. To this day, it remains the largest wildfire since Yellowstone became a national park. Yellowstone's spokesperson at that time, Joan Anzelmo remembers what it was like to be at the center of the firestorm.

Olly Moss, blog.camposanto.com

Picture this. You're a park ranger living in a watchtower in the Wyoming wilderness. No cellphone, no internet, no co-worker to keep you company. Your only human contact is with your boss on a handheld radio. But when unexpected events occur, you’re faced with exploring a wild and unknown environment…and that's where a new video game set in Wyoming begins.

Cynthia Lummis

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has approved a budget for the Interior and Environment for 2015, and Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis says, if passed into law, the bill would have a huge impact on Western states like Wyoming. 

Fire crews are responding to reports of a forest fire burning in the Southern Snowy Range area near Lake Owen.

Aaron Voos with the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest says little is known at the moment, but many members of the public called to report smoke in the area.

“We’re just trying to figure out an exact location and do a size-up on it," said Voos. "We do have both County and Forest Service crews that are en route as well as a type 3 helicopter.”

Fire restrictions are popping up across Eastern Wyoming.

Despite the wet spring, weather forecasters are predicting an average fire season in July and August, when plant material is most flammable.  Natrona joins Converse, Johnson and Platte Counties in posting restrictions to prevent wildfires in the region. 

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.

Bark Beetles and forest fires continue to grab the attention of Wyomingites.  In fact many believe that climate change is behind both problems.  Butch Blazer is the Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment for the US Department of Agriculture.  We sat down with him as he visited with regional foresters in Cheyenne last week.  Blazer says Beetle kill remains a serious problem in the Rocky Mountain West

Forest Service Studies Western Fires

Sep 24, 2012

The aggressive fire season of the last few years has gotten the attention of the U-S Forest Service.

Officials say they are trying to study the fires to determine how to reduce both the number of fires and their severity to get a better understanding of their impact on the environment.  It’s been widely thought that fires are good for forests, but Department of Agriculture officials want to know more.  U-S-D-A Deputy Under Secretary Butch Blazer says there is concern that there may be negative impacts.

New idea pitched for homes in forests

Aug 15, 2012

A number of researchers are asking federal officials to consider setting up what are known as fire plains.  These are areas that could be managed like flood plains, because the areas are susceptible to forest fires. 

The idea is to either limit development in those areas or make sure that such development is done in the safest possible way.  Doctor Tony Cheng with the Forest Restoration Institute says it’s tricky because fires can be unpredictable.

Firefighters quickly pounced on new wildfires started by lightning in northern Wyoming as they
contained or gained near containment on the state's largest fires.
The fire situation has improved a great deal in Wyoming because
of rain and cooler weather over the weekend.
 Firefighters are being reassigned elsewhere or are being rested.

Irina Zhorov / Wyoming Public Media

Thanks to crew efforts and a break in temperatures, officials say growth has slowed on the Arapaho, Oil Creek, Fontenelle, and Squirrel Creek fires.  State Forester Bill Crapser says they’ve turned a corner.

 “Everybody I’ve talked to on all the fires are real optimistic on the progress being made, so we’re really not expecting to see major growth on any of the fires,” Crapser said.

Firefighters focus on protecting homes.

Jul 2, 2012

        Protecting homes and cabins is the focus for firefighters battling the Squirrel Creek fire in the Medicine Bow National forest near Woods Landing.  The fire has consumed more than 7000 acres and Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said it established itself on Sheep Mountain on Tuesday and had burned down towards Highway 230. 

He said residents on Fox Creek Road have been evacuated and protecting those homes and structures has been a point of emphasis.  But Voos adds that there are other areas of concern.           

A new wildfire has erupted in Wyoming.
     The Fontenelle Fire is burning in the Bridger-Teton National
Forest about 30 miles northwest of LaBarge in western Wyoming. It
has burned about 100 acres and firefighters are being deployed to
combat it.
     The cause of the fire, which was reported on Sunday, is under
investigation.
     Meantime, the Russell's Camp fire burning south of Glenrock grew
to more than 8 square miles over the weekend, but firefighters have
managed to gain 25 percent containment.

Anticipating a return of hot, dry, windy weather by this weekend, firefighters worked Thursday to build
lines around a wildfire in the Medicine Bow National Forest in east-central Wyoming.

 The Russell's Camp fire is located about 30 miles south of
Glenrock and has burned just over 4 square miles since Sunday.

 Cooler temperatures and higher humidity on Wednesday lessened
fire intensity, allowing firefighters to gain 5 percent containment. But the fire was more active Thursday with warmer temperatures.

Fire managers in the Jackson area have raised the fire danger rating to “high” for Teton County, the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park.

National Park spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says the rating is based on a combination of high temperatures, high winds, low humidity and low moisture content in plants. She says campers need to be exceptionally careful with cigarettes, camp stoves and camp fires.

Associated Press

Investigators have determined that a fire
burning in Guernsey State Park in southeast Wyoming is human
caused.

State Forester Bill Crapser says the fire started in a grassy
and brushy area along the lake.

While the land there is owned by the state Military Department,
Crapser says no military personnel or actions were involved in
starting the fire.

 Crapser says his office sent its report to local authorities.
 Platte County Undersheriff Grady Winders declined comment,
saying the investigation continues.

Authorities are telling people in a community in southeast Wyoming to be ready to evacuate as a
large wildfire spreads.

They're telling the 70 people who live in Hartville on the east
side of Guernsey State Park to be ready to leave in an hour's
notice.

     A wildfire has burned over six square miles of the park since
Saturday. Hundreds of campers had to evacuate and the park remains
closed.