Jackson Hole prepares for controlled burning
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
October 30, 2012
Smoke may soon return to Jackson Hole skies, but don’t worry. With one of the state’s worst forest fire seasons just having ended, several controlled-burn programs begin this week.
In Grand Teton National Park, piles of tree limbs and brush will be burned in an effort to reduce the potential for large fires.
And when “Burn Week” begins in town Saturday, Jackson residents will be able to light small fires to rid their property of branches, leaves and other natural debris.
The severity of this year’s fire season hasn’t stopped plans for the controlled burns, fire department and park officials said.
“Fire danger is no worse than it was last year during Burn Week,” Fire Marshall Kathy Clay said. “However, I’d like to think we’re more enlightened this year.”
Burns should take place during the day and away from cars and homes, Clay said. She also advised keeping a garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby.
Anyone igniting a controlled burn in town must first call Jackson Hole law enforcement at 733-2331.
Recent precipitation makes the conditions ideal for these controlled burns, Clay said.
Park officials agree.
“The conditions are just right with the moisture,” Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said.
The park burn will help reduce the risk of wildfire by clearing underbrush that can easily catch fire.
“If you reduce what’s close to the forest floor ... you reduce the chance for a fire becoming bigger and hotter,” Skaggs said.
Many of the tipi-shaped debris piles have been sitting for a year to dry. The debris has mostly been cleared from developed areas of the park.
“They reflect fuels-reduction projects that have taken place over the last year or two,” Skaggs said.
Areas that will have burns include Beaver Creek, Whitegrass Ranch, the Mailbox Corner area, Leeks Marina, the Colter Bay area, and locations near Kelly and Moose. For a map of the burns, visit TetonFires.com.