Three blazes jumpstart Wyoming's wildfire season

Jul 23, 2013

There are three fires burning across Wyoming today. Near Sinks Canyon in Freemont County, in The Hard Luck area of the Washakie Wilderness and in the western Battle Creek area of area of Medicine Bow national forest. The fire near Hard Luck was discovered by reconnaissance planes on Saturday and the most recent fire, burning near Battle Creek picked up Monday.  
Though full investigations have yet to be performed, each fire is assumed to have been started by lightning strike. And while the causes are similar, each inferno presents officials with very different circumstances and requires a different strategy.

The blaze near Battle Creek, which is at zero percent containment, will receive attention from over one hundred fire personnel in an attempt at full suppression before things can get out of hand. Predicted rains in the area on Wednesday will likely help fire fighters in their efforts.

The fire in the Hard Luck region proves somewhat more challenging to fire crews. The center of the fire is burning on steep, rocky terrain, on mostly beetle killed timber. Officials have taken a more cautious stance on this fire, not wanting to risk crews, and instead letting the beetle killed timber burn off naturally.

While Sinks Canyon officials could not be reached for comments, Assistant State Forester-Fire Manager, Ron Graham noted that significant progress had been made in combating the fire.

Graham also noted that while recent fire seasons have been severe, this one seems to be on par with past averages.

“If you look at it historically, we’re truly just entering our normal fire season right now, where we see large fires in the upper elevations and the timber areas. So it’s kind of off to basically a normal start,” said Graham 
Precipitation in the eastern part of the state will help suppress existing fires in the next couple of days, but long term draught conditions are cause for many to worry about what this fire season may hold.

Property owners in rural areas can help mitigate the risks posed to their property this summer by clearing flammable brush away from their structures and clearing as much debris as possible. 
Campers are urged to heed warnings from parks and follow safety guidelines for campfires.