Three “wildland use” fires get out of control

Aug. 29, 2008. I have added some new updates (in red text)

The idea of letting fires in remote areas burn in order to save money and provide ecological benefits is one of growing popularity, especially given the toll fires are taking on the Forest Service budget (the later most a crisis manufactured by the Bush Administration in order to defund the Forest Service, in my opinion).

Due to high winds, 3 fires in Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming have escaped confinement — Gunbarrel in Wyoming, South Barker in Idaho, and East Sliderock.

There are stories in the newspaper today about two of them. First Gunbarrel. This is a fire we have been following for more than a week due to its proximity to Yellowstone and its size.

Gunbarrel.

Gunbarrel managers drop beneficial use policy in favor of aggressive suppression. Casper Star Tribune.

‘It’s in our backyard’. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star-Tribune environment reporter. Note I have no idea why the dateline of this story is Lander, WY because the fire is no where near Lander.
8-28. Inciweb. Latest release on Gunbarrel fire.
8-28 update. Ash falls on Cody. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette.
8-29 update. Crews intensify efforts to fight month-old Gunbarrel fire. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau

East Sliderock

Conditions hamper firefighters near NV wilderness. By Sandra Chereb.  Associated Press Writer. This fire burned for a long time in the Jarbidge Wilderness just south of the Idaho border. Now it is threatening Murphy Hot Springs (a remote resort area), the town of Jarbidge, and it is also burning valuable (and rare)  sage grouse country.

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Crews take more aggressive tack on Gunbarrel fire

Although we haven’t reported on it for a few days, the Gunbarrel fire has now burned a huge chunk of the North Absaroka Wilderness. It has been mostly managed as a needed “wildland” fire, but it is threatening to break out.

Despite its size, it has only cost $5.6 million dollars, much less than fires with a lot of recreational residences in the fire’s path.

Crews take more aggressive tack on Gunbarrel fire. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau

Inciweb’s page on the Gunbarrel fire (for detailed and daily updated information).

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Gunbarrel fire clears out massive area of beetle-killed timber

Gunbarrel still on fire. Long-term plan uses fire to clear forest of beetle-killed trees. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau.

The fire is now 50 square miles and serving to clear out a part of the North Absaroka Wilderness that was a deadfall jungle (not that access was ever easy, given the rugged terrain and lack of trails.).

The North Absaroka Wilderness forms a long boundary with Yellowstone National Park.

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The Gunbarrel Fire moves closer to the Cody-East Entrance road

Winds have blown this backcountry/wilderness fire to the east of Yellowstone Park closer to the East Entrance road.

It was started by a campfire and has mostly burned in very rugged country filled with bug-killed timber, producing a huge plume of smoke.

North winds challenge Gunbarrel fire lines. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette.

Update. August 6, 2008. Lodges near Yellowstone Park evacuated as Gunbarrel fire expands. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette.