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Pinedale Online > News > September 2007 > Snow dampens Tanner Fire

Tanner Fire. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Tanner Fire

Retardant Drop. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Retardant Drop
Two retardant planes worked the fire.

Helicopter water drop. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Helicopter water drop
A helicopter drops water on a hot spot while firefighter crews look on.

Gas well near fire. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Gas well near fire

Tanner Fire from road. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Tanner Fire from road
View of the Tanner Fire the day it started. It ignited north of South Piney Creek, east of North Mountain.
Snow dampens Tanner Fire
Fire near South Piney Creek is in patrol status
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online! | Photos courtesy Kenna & Kim Tanner
September 25, 2007

Snowfall over the weekend helped firefighters working on the Tanner fire burning in the South Piney Creek area west of Big Piney. “Everyone has been released and the fire is in patrol status,” said T.J. Hunt, Sublette County Fire Warden, on Monday. He said the fire isn’t being called officially out just yet, since it could flare up again if things warm up and dry out before we get a season-ending snowstorm that puts it out for good. Firefighters will continue to check on it.

The fire began on Sunday, September 16th, east of North Mountain in the Wyoming Range. It is believed to have been started by lightning. It started on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, then moved on to private property. Firefighters from Big Piney, Daniel, Boulder, Pinedale, Bondurant and Kendall Volunteer fire departments responded to the blaze. Additional firefighters from the BLM and Bridger-Teton National Forest fire personnel also assisted.

Hunt said the area of the burn is dangerous for firefighters to work in due to hazard trees, weakened by the fire, can come down at any time without warning. “We call them ‘widow makers’”, he said. “They’ll fall for no reason. You never know when those trees will come down.” Some of the hazard trees still look green, but fire can creep through the duff under the surface and burn the roots, leaving the trees as standing dead and a huge safety hazard for firefighters working in the burn area.

“We want to say a special thanks to the homeowners in the area for their patience,” said Hunt. The firefighters were short-staffed and running out of help. A lot of the volunteers were out on other fires or out hunting, so the firefighters who were available were stretched thin to work on this fire. “It was tough to find help. We had three guys on a 100-acre fire working both ends knocking down hot spots. We thank all the firefighters who helped with this fire,” he said. “We also want to thank the employers who let the volunteers go out and help out.”

Due to spotting, the fire was actually several separate fires burning with islands of unburned trees in-between, spreading it out and making it more of a challenge to fight. “We had four to five 10 to 20-acre fires burning at once,” Hunt said.

Since most of the burn area is on private land, and behind a locked gate, the road into the burn area won’t be accessible to hunters.

Hunt emphasized that even with this bit of snow, things are still dry in the woods and we could get more fires if things dry out again. “Please be careful with campfires,” he cautioned. The Tanner fire is one of several fires from this summer that firefighters are monitoring until they are finally put out when we get snow that stays.

“It’s been a long season,” he said, noting that the volunteer firefighters are getting worn down. “I’m glad it’s snowing!”
Special "Thank you!" to Kenna and Kim Tanner for sharing their photos of the fire. "We sat on the ridge to the north of the the ridge that actually caught fire. Still no definite cause, although as a reassurance, NO structures were burned, no wells burning," Kenna said. They got photos from the day of the fire, including great shots of helicopters and retardant slurry drops from two different planes. "Great help from many services (F.S., BLM, local volunteer depts., etc)" Other photos were taken six days later for a return for post-fire pictures. Hot spots occasionally flared up, creating more plumes of smoke.

Tanner. Photo by Kenna Tanner.

Hot inferno. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Hot inferno

Firefighter crews move in. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Firefighter crews move in

Burning Tree Islands. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Burning Tree Islands

Helicopter on fire. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Helicopter on fire

Firefighters on scene. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Firefighters on scene

Tanner helicopter. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Tanner helicopter

Firs, fire and aspen. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Firs, fire and aspen

Flames approach well. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Flames approach well

Orange flames boil up. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Orange flames boil up

Retardant plane arrives. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Retardant plane arrives

Bucket drop. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Bucket drop

Torching trees. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Torching trees

Plane lines up. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Plane lines up

Starts the drop. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Starts the drop

Comes around. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Comes around

Another sweep. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Another sweep

Run complete. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Run complete

Plane close up. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Plane close up

Nice view of drop. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Nice view of drop

Dropping Retardant. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Dropping Retardant

Spots cause more fires. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Spots cause more fires

Natural breaks. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Natural breaks

Tanner Sunset. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Tanner Sunset

Fire charred trees. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Fire charred trees

Burned trees. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Burned trees

Well near burn. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Well near burn

Burn Pocket. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Burn Pocket

Antelope Burn. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Antelope Burn

Burned out island. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Burned out island

Close burn. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Close burn

Burn Area. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Burn Area

Golden Aspen. Photo by Kenna Tanner.
Golden Aspen
Pinedale Online > News > September 2007 > Snow dampens Tanner Fire

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