A 135-acre fire that started last Thursday and burned for three days in the Five Springs Ranch area east of Lovell is a reminder that fire season is in full swing in the area.
According to Fire Captain Bob Mangus with the Lovell Volunteer Fire Department, firefighters have responded to 54 fires so far this year, which he said is about average for this time of the year. He said conditions are “dry as hell” and those burning for any reason should use caution, as wind conditions change both in velocity and direction, which is how most controlled burns get out of hand.
He said the Five Springs fire started on Thursday at around 2 p.m. but was not fully extinguished until Saturday morning. No structures were threatened at any time by the fire. Three trucks and a Kubota tractor from the LVFD were dispatched to the scene along with about a dozen firefighters. Mangus said firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and a “hot shot” team from the Worland area also worked on the fire.
Mangus said the fire began in a nearby farmer’s field as a controlled burn. He said the burn got out of control when winds kicked up unexpectedly and caused the fire to jump a barrier line the farmer had constructed as a safety precaution prior to starting the controlled burn.
“I don’t blame the farmer,” said Mangus. “He did everything totally right, but the wind came up more than expected and then things got out of hand.”
According to Mangus, most of the 54 fires on record this year have been caused by similar circumstances to the Five Springs Ranch fire.
By Patti Carpenter