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Gov. Gordon: Agencies Prepared For Fire Season

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Blue

Fire season has been delayed by a cool, rainy June, but state and federal agencies say they are prepared to go to work if and when the fires start.

During a press briefing on the topic, Governor Mark Gordon and representatives from other groups highlighted the need for interagency collaboration and that, despite some hurdles, the relevant agencies are prepared to respond to fires across the Mountain West.

When the United States experienced the longest government shutdown in its history in December and January, many agencies were forced to furlough workers. These agencies included the Department of the Interior, which houses the Bureau of Land Management.

But Mary Jo Rugwell, Wyoming State Director for the BLM, said her agency used carryover funds to prepare for this summer.

"It's very important to us that we are ready well before fires start to burn because there's a lot of training that has to happen in order for firefighters to be safe and to do a good job," she said.

Representatives from the State Forestry Division, U.S. Forest Service and the Wyoming Rural Firefighters Association also spoke during the briefing.

Last summer saw a significant number of fires throughout the state. Gordon said that partnerships between the agencies were crucial for fighting and containing those fires, and will continue to be important this summer.

"We saw the fires we had last year that were devastating to communities in Wyoming - we don't want to see those again," the governor said.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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