Despite cloudy weather last week, the Bighorn National Forest is still in “very high” fire danger, and will be continuing with fire restrictions.
Six wildfires started from recent lightning have demonstrated that the fuels in the forest are capable of supporting fires. According to fire manager Curtis Rasmuson, “If we had not been aggressive in our initial attack, several of these fires would have gotten large.”
In addition to these lightning ignited fires, there have been three abandoned campfires that have required suppression response. One of these fires, the Black Butte fire, was approximately 12 acres, and cost thousands of dollars to suppress.
Rasmuson further stated, “We would greatly appreciate the public’s cooperation with the fire restrictions, as none of us can afford the risk and potential loss associated with human caused fires.” The Forest Service is hopeful that significant moisture, more than ½-inch of rain, will fall before the beginning of the archery hunting season to provide conditions to lift the fire restrictions. This did not occur with Wednesday’s storm.
Added Rasmuson, “A few of the fires were in remote areas that we normally would have considered managing to restore vegetative diversity, but this year is too busy of a fire year to secure the firefighting resources necessary for that type of managed fire. There are many areas of the Forest that would benefit from wildfire, but conditions now are too extreme.”
Visitors are reminded to check the restrictions posted on signs, on the Forest’s website (http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/bighorn/home) or by calling or visiting a local office or visitor center to stay current on the regulations.