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Fire Season Continues, Firefighters Reacting Quickly

Brocken Inaglory
(CC BY-SA 3.0)

As August comes to an end, conditions are ripe for potential fires.

Many counties and federal agencies have issued fire restrictions throughout the state due to the prime fire conditions: hot, dry and windy.

Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser said while fire season has been busy so far across the state, there have not been any majorly large fires.

"So far a majority of the fires have been some of the lower elevations, range fires, and then kind of getting into the timber, the edges of the timber. We haven't seen the number of high elevation timber fires that we've seen some years," he said.

Crapser said because of COVID-19, federal, state and local officials agreed to focus on aggressive initial attacks of fires to keep the number of people at fire camps down. Meaning, firefights are using more extreme measures to contain or stop fires more rapidly.

The state helitack, which fights fires from a helicopter, has been busy.

"This year, we've actually flown, so far, substantially more than our average number of missions for an entire season for a normal year. But then again, nothing's gotten big. So we've been real successful on initial attack," he said.

Crapser said the fires have been all across the state, but Albany, Converse and Natrona counties are seeing high numbers, and the northeast corner of the state is also seeing significant fire activity.

Over the last 10 years, humans are causing more fires than in the past, Crasper said. He added people should be extra diligent about rules and follow federal and local restrictions to reduce risks.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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