Kemmerer prescribed burn now a wildfire
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
June 12, 2014
The Pole Creek prescribed burn was implemented Saturday, June 7, 2014 on the Kemmerer Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF). The burn, about 50 miles northeast of Kemmerer, Wyoming, was converted to a wildfire after a dry cold front came across Wyoming, Tuesday afternoon. The winds, up to 50 mph, blew embers over the prescribed burn boundaries creating a large spot fire around 150 acres. Crews had been prepared for the predicted weather, holding and patrolling the burn at the time the winds picked up. The cold front came into the burn area and was longer and stronger than expected.
"Prescribed fire escapes are extremely rare," said Adriene Holcomb, Kemmerer District Ranger. "We complete thorough analyses and follow stringent procedures to minimize the risks associated with igniting prescribed fires."
Around 200-300 acres of dead and dying beetle killed conifers were burned in the project area to rejuvenate decadent aspen stands. Prescribed burning is a tool fire managers use to achieve specific ecological objectives, which can improve wildlife habitat and reduce hazardous fuel accumulations.
"We knew the spot fire was barely out of the boundary," said Dwayne Gibbons, West Zone Fire Management Officer for BTNF. "We didnít think we could contain it safely and effectively to bring in back into the prescription for the burn. So doing the best thing was to back off and call it a wildfire."
Western Wyoming Type 3 organization was ordered to manage the fire and is in-briefing with the district today. A Type 3 organization is an overhead team more suited to manage a complex or large fire.
The East Fork Timber sale is north of the Pole Creek fire and firefighters will provide point protection during suppression efforts of the spot fire. There are no structures or residences currently at risk.
For more information about the Bridger-Teton National Forest, or to stay up to date with forest updates, please go to www.tetonfires.com. Follow us on Twitter @BridgerTetonNF.