From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 25 - September 14, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Fire Update

Fire danger rated extreme

Teton interagency fire managers announced that effective, Sept. 6, the fire danger rating has been elevated to extreme for both the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. Fire officials use a five-step fire danger scale that takes into account the moisture content of grasses, shrubs and trees, projected weather conditions (including temperatures and possible wind events), the ability of fire to spread after ignition, and the available fire-fighting resources. A fire danger rating of extreme means that fires can start easily, spread quickly and burn intensely.

Due to locally dry conditions, partial fire restrictions were implemented Aug. 31. Those fire restrictions remain in place and include the following:

• Lighting, 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. Use of portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel, or use of a fully enclosed sheepherder-type stove with a spark arrester screen, is permitted.

• Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle, building (unless otherwise prohibited), developed recreation site, or while in an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials at least three feet in diameter (i.e. parking lots, developed campsites or locations surrounded by water). 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.

• Discharge of fireworks and use of explosives requiring blasting caps are prohibited.

Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, and/or by imprisonment for more than six months.

Road Closure Update

U.S. Forest Service road No. 680, the Moose Gypsum Road, has been opened to the public. Forest visitors are reminded that there are still firefighters working in the area and there is fire traffic on that road, so drive slowly and use caution while in the area.

Closures remain in effect for the Jim Creek fire. Pot Creek roads No. 714 and 713, Boulder Basin Road No. 716 at the junction with No. 717, and Jim Creek Road No. 710 at junction with No. 711 are closed to the public for safety.

Union Pass road No. 600 is open to traffic although roads No. 670 Leeds Creek, No. 637 Raspberry Creek and No. 672 Strawberry Creek are still closed.

Fire restrictions remain in effect on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Campfires are not allowed except in designated recreation areas. Smoking is only allowed inside vehicles or in an area cleared of flammable vegetation three feet in diameter. For more information on closures or restrictions, call the Pinedale Ranger District at 307-367-4326.

Jim Fire

Smoke was visible from the Jim Creek Fire Sunday as activity increased south of Jim Creek drainage and east of Pot Creek Park. This fire began June 26 from lightning 24 miles north of Pinedale in the Bridger Wilderness. Wildland fire use has been utilized as a tool to help land managers reduce the risk of unwanted wildfires and increase natural resource benefits over time.

Status: 3,370 acres. There are 57 fire personnel assigned to the fire.

Objective: To provide public and fire personnel safety, and allow the fire to burn where it won’t threaten private property, facilities or other developments.

Recent events: Fire managers estimate that the fire has increased in acreage by approximately 50 acres over the last two days.

Current strategy: The local wildland fire use team continues to monitor fire activity and strengthen management action points. As fire activity increases, aerial reconnaissance will take place.

Forecast: A drying trend is expected to continue over several days with reduced relative humidity and a slight increase in winds.

Closures: The Pot Creek Road numbers 714 and 713, Boulder Basin Road 716 at the junction with 717, and Jim Creek Road 710 at the junction with 711 have been closed to the public for safety. Hunters and hikers are urged to stay out of the area and respect the closures.

Points to consider: We can either have a fire now under relatively controlled conditions or later, when an exceptionally dry year gives us huge fires.

Battle Mountain Fire

The Battle Mountain Fire was ignited on Aug. 23 after a lightning storm passed over the northern Wind River Range. Fuels are mainly lodgepole, aspen and sage. The fire is burning in an area that is being considered for timber harvest and prescribed burning.

Location: North side of Forest Service Road 680/ Moose Gypsum Road 30 miles north of Pinedale and three miles southwest of Green River Lakes.

Status: 1,370 acres. The fire is 90-percent contained. Estimated containment is Oct. 1. There are two fire personnel assigned to the fire.

Objective: Provide public and firefighter safet, suppress the fire’s growth within the ability of the limited resources and protect the private structures and property within the area.

Recent events: Fire behavior remains minimal. Demobilization of resources has begun.

Current strategy: A few resources remain on the fire to monitor and rehab fire lines.

Forecast: Warmer and drier conditions were expected Tuesday and through Wednesday.

Closures: U.S. Forest Service road 680 has been re-opened to the public. Visitors to the area are asked to use caution and drive slowly.

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