Wildfires are igniting around the ecosystem

Wildfires are igniting around the ecosystem

06 July 2016

published by http://www.jhnewsandguide.com

USA — Once-lush grasses and other vegetation have begun to dry out. Diminutive wildfires are being reported in places like Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Among the not-so-mighty conflagrations reported last week was the Ski Lake Fire, a two-tenths of an acre blaze lit by humans near the shores of the popular Teton Pass hiking destination. Though now controlled, the fire is the result of one of 43 abandoned campfires that Bridger-Teton patrols have tallied so far this summer, forest spokeswoman Mary Cernicek said.

“Whether camping or creating a warming fire they can never, ever be left unattended, no matter what the fire danger is for the area,” Cernicek said in an email. “Fires can start even with a fire danger rating of ‘low.’ Because the Bridger-Teton is at ‘high’ fire danger, it is particularly irresponsible to walk away from a fire that is still burning whether it is in a campground or in a stone fire ring in a dispersed area.

“Abandoning a campfire is a citable offense,” she said, “and it just isn’t worth the risk to these public lands.”

In Grand Teton National Park the tenth-acre Wagon Fire was discovered Monday smoldering on logs on the ground adjacent to the Valley Trail leading to Garnet Canyon.

“While the cause may have been lightning, the scene was disturbed enough that responders were not able to make a definitive determination,” Teton Interagency Fire officials reported online.

As of Tuesday afternoon the Wagon and Ski Lake fires were listed as “active.” Both are considered controlled but not extinguished, Cernicek said.

Elsewhere in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem small wildfires have also sprouted up.

Yellowstone officials could not be reached for this story, but the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Montana reported Friday that four wildfires — two natural and two human-caused — have ignited in the park so far this year.

West of the park in Montana’s Gravelly Range the nearby Pole and Fine fires, both triggered by lightning, had burned a combined 46 acres through Tuesday, according to the online wildfire information service InciWeb. Some 79 firefighters, including 10 smoke jumpers, three engines, hand crews and a helicopter were combating the blazes, located south of Ennis.

The fire danger in all areas around Jackson Hole is listed as “high,” though no campfire restrictions are in place. A measure Teton Interagency Fire keeps to score fuels dryness, called an “energy release component,” is currently scoring 43 on a scale of 0 to 90, which is about average for the first week of July.

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