Wet Weather Ends Record Setting Fire Season
Written by Andrew-Rossi on September 22, 2017
The wet weather in this region is good news for firefighters who have been away from home too long.
Park County District 2 Fire Marshal Sam Wilde was called away from his post the beginning of August, and was gone on fire assignment to the Pole Creek Fire north of Kemmerer for 31 days. He was one of thousands of firefighters who battled blazes throughout the northwest corner of the United States, in one of the biggest wildfire seasons in history.
Wilde explains that much of the reason for the huge numbers of wildfires this year is because of the Forest Service’s previous policy to suppress every fire. However, he says these wildfires are the result of years of doing just that, and not allowing the land to undergo natural changes necessary for healthy forests.
Wilde stresses that fires are necessary for forest health, but the big challenge in this day and age is the urban interface – fire managers are tasked with protection of properties, while trying to allow fires to burn as part of the natural process. He urged homeowners to take action to protect their homes in heavily wooded areas before a smoke column is in the air.
Wilde praised the Shoshone National Forest for their proactive efforts to manage forest health, looking at high risk areas for wildfires and utilizing tools such as prescribed burns at different times of the year to attempt to minimize the potential for fires, but he says that doesn’t mean that another fire the size of the Gunbarrel fire in 2008 couldn’t occur in the future.
He says, quote, “we’ll be dealing with this kind of fire conditions for several years to come,” endquote.