Wyoming State Forestry Division wildfire briefing with Gov. Mark Gordon

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -Wyoming is facing another significant drought season sooner than last year. Experts predict these drier conditions in the northeastern and central portions of the state will mean an above-average forest fire season.

Several speakers, including the Bureau of Land Management and State Foresters, reiterated the importance of fire prevention, safety, and awareness when recreating outdoors and respecting fire bans.

“Eighty seven percent of fires in the west are human caused fires. And so, if the public can be extremely careful when they are recreating, and doing activities out in public lands or on national forests, it makes our jobs easier,” said Paul Hohn- Bureau of Land Management.

Report smoke in the air, have evacuation plans, put out campfires, be mindful when pulling a trailer or target practice and ricocheted bullets, and avoid fireworks in the forest.

Experts also acknowledged the importance of partnerships.

Without the counties, local volunteer firefighters, the state, the federal BLM and forest service working together, they couldn’t pool resources and fight fires the way they are able to.

“We’re able to pool the resources and really help bring fires under control,” said Bill Crapser -State Forester- State of Wyoming

But that the cost of fires is high in many ways. According to Jackie Buchanan, Deputy Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain region, over a million acres of land burned in 2020 wildfires and broke the record three times for fire size. Tim Hart from Cody, Wyoming, a wildland firefighter, also lost his life.

“The fact that we put people’s lives at risk and property at risk by fire is something we’re very concerned about,” said Gov. Mark Gordon.

Experts stated the importance of clearing brush and timber away from homes and gutters. Creating a safety zone around properties and homes makes wildland firefighters’ jobs much easier in defending homes in the event of a fire.

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