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BLM to conduct 2,000 acres of prescribed burns around Wyoming

A prescribed fire on Yellowtail Wildlife Management Area in northwest Wyoming. Though prescribed fires are meant to revitalize wildlife habitats, uncontrolled ones can cause both immediate and long-term damage to them in addition to affecting public access and even hunting season.
National Interagency Fire Center
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A prescribed fire on Yellowtail Wildlife Management Area in northwest Wyoming. Though prescribed fires are meant to revitalize wildlife habitats, uncontrolled ones can cause both immediate and long-term damage to them in addition to affecting public access and even hunting season.

The Bureau of Land Management is planning about a dozen prescribed burns in Wyoming this year in an effort to mitigate future fire risk.

Reed Oldenburg, fuels program manager with the BLM’s Wyoming office, said the work this spring and fall will target about 2,000 acres in various locations throughout Wyoming.

“I can’t say that anything is large enough to have a huge impact. But … it certainly will help if we get a fire that burns into those areas that are previously treated through prescribed fire, there will certainly be less activity,” he said.

Oldenburg said when the burns occur depends on weather, soil conditions and other factors.

“It hasn’t been the wettest of winters across the state, which does give us concern. However, we’ll have to wait and see what the spring brings with the rains and any wet snow,” he said.

Four prescribed burns along the west slope of the Big Horn Mountains near Lovell are slated to start between now and May. Several more are planned in the southwest corner of the state, with others near Casper and Buffalo.

The National Interagency Coordination Center predicts normal wildland fire risk in Wyoming from now until July.

Olivia Weitz is based at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. She covers Yellowstone National Park, wildlife, and arts and culture throughout the region. Olivia’s work has aired on NPR and member stations across the Mountain West. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom story workshop. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, cooking, and going to festivals that celebrate folk art and music.

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