From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 16 - July 18, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Sublette County Fire News

by Cat Urbigkit

Mount Leidy Fire

Interagency crews from the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park responded to a fire on Mount Leidy Monday afternoon. Air patrols spotted the fire at approximately 3:30 p.m. and dispatched two Helitack and four crew members to the fire, which is now estimated at about an acre. The fire is approximately seven miles south of the Blackrock Ranger Station and was still active at presstime. Additional updates on this fire and others are being posted to www.tetonfires.com.

Mule Fire reaches 4,000 Acres

By Wednesday morning, the Mule Fire was estimated at 4,000 acres. Wind-driven flames pushed the fires northeastern edge into the Mill Creek and Dry Beaver Creek Drainages over night and have continued to produce heavy spotting. Thunderstorm activity over the fire produced high winds, dry lightning and erratic fire behavior, forcing firefighters to retreat to safety zones for short periods until safe suppression operations could resume. At this time, there are no immediate threats to private structures adjacent the forest. However, fire behavior, weather, recent fire growth and the fuel type carrying the fire has prompted Incident Commander Dan Smith to initiate a structural protection analysis. This analysis will help fire managers identify potential threats to health and property and will be coordinated with Sublette County officials.

Two new crews have arrived, bringing resource totals to 12 20-person hand crews, two ten-person camp crews, three helicopters, three air-tankers, two lead planes and a type II National Incident Management Team. Crews have been successful holding the southern edge of the fire north of the Horse Creek Road. However, heavy spotting, erratic fire behavior and recent fire growth into the Dry Beaver and Mill Creek areas has lead the Forest to implement an area closure as a safety precaution. The closure will be implemented by the Acting Forest Supervisor today and will cover North and South Beaver, Dry Beaver, Lead and Horse Creek drainages and all associated access routes. This special closure will be reviewed daily for applicability and will be lifted as soon as fire threats in the area are mitigated.

The Mule Fire is located about 20 miles west of Daniel with its eastern edge six miles west of the Sherman Guard Station and one mile north of Prospect Peak on the Big Piney Ranger District. This fire is burning in rugged terrain covered by dense decadent stands of sub-alpine fir. Fire updates are being posted daily to www.tetonfires.com and at www.pinedaleonline.com. For more information, please contact the Bridger-Teton National Forest at (307) 739-5500.

Fire danger high, restrictions imposed

Based upon current fire conditions, as of Tuesday, July 16, interagency fire management partners elevated the fire danger rating to "Very High." In addition, fire managers intend to implement partial fire restrictions in both Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest beginning Thursday, July 18. Interagency fire managers monitor moisture content of various fuel types, current and expected weather conditions, available fire-fighting resources and the occurrence of human-caused fires to determine when fire restrictions need to be implemented on public lands.

Fire restrictions include the following:

Building, maintaining attending or using a fire, campfire, barbecue or grill is allowed only in designated recreation sites such as established campgrounds or picnic areas.

Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle, building, developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

Operating a chainsaw in national parks is prohibited. Operating a chainsaw on national forests is permitted only when equipped with an USDA- or SAE- approved spark arrester that is properly installed and in effective working order. Operators must also carry a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 36 inches.

Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame is prohibited, except in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter. A chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of at least 2A must be at the location.

Using an explosive requiring blasting caps is prohibited.

Local residents and visitors should recognize that very high fire danger exists in this area and practice heightened fire safety at all times. For more information, please contact Bridger-Teton National Forest (307) 739-5500 or Grand Teton National Park at (307) 739-3300.

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