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Phoenix Forest

burned trees stand above the regenerating forest

In 2002, the Hinman Fire burned 31,016 acres in the Routt National Forest. It was part of what became the Mount Zirkel Complex of fires. Much of the burned area included trees blown down by a rare high-altitude wind storm with hurricane force gales. On October 24, 1997, it laid flat 20,000 acres and an estimated 6 million trees. leaving a pick-up-sticks matrix on the ground. The dead trees left perfect habitat for pine beetles, which have scourged the area and left millions and millions of acres of dead trees. Many of those beetle-killed dead trunks still stand, with thousands falling every day throughout the forests of the mountain West.

The Hinman Fire burned hot and hard, and left scorched tree trunks standing tall and dead. The trees were diseased and killed by the beetles, providing the “perfect storm” for the fire. It was particularly impactful to us, since we had 800 ewes and their lambs on the Farwell grazing allotment. In a effort that is still legend, our sheepherder Pepe Cruz brought the sheep down the Elk River drainage, trailing the sheep throughout the night, with a sack of new puppies tied to his saddlehorn. He brought all of the animals under his care out safely, with fire burning on three sides.

We still graze on that allotment. The regeneration of the landscape there gives me hope for the rest of the Forest, which has been devastated by beetles. In the burned over area, still marked by the standing spears of trees burned 16 years ago, the vegetation is rebounding and new growth trees are filling in the landscape. The burned area looks verdant and healthy compared to the rest of the Forest. It gives me hope to see the new forest rising from the ashes.

new growth

vegetation everywhere

 

Farwell Mountain

ewes and lambs grazing

 
 

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Fire on Battle Creek, Day Two

Pepe and Brian moving sheep, HInman Fire, 2002 photo by Keri Greet

Pepe and Brian moving sheep, HInman Fire, 2002
photo by Keri Greer

Our fire has a name now.  We have three bands of sheep, with herders, dogs, horses and camps, in fairly close proximity to the fire.  We’ve moved them, and warned the herders to be ready to move out quickly if necessary.  At this point, the fire seems to be burning along, without any sudden or life-threatening moves.  The Medicine Bow National Forest is chock-full of dead beetle-killed pines, which are bound to burn.  As long as the fire doesn’t get out of control, it is doing a lot of good.  Of course, as I discussed with my friend Alex, whose home is very close to the fire, “The sheep can move.  Your house can’t.”
Here’s a report from the Forest Service website http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3547/

West Battle Creek Fire

INCIDENT UPDATED 2 HRS. AGO

Approximate Location

41.126 latitude, -107.12 longitude

Incident Overview

West Battle Creek Fire Area - July 23, 1 P.m.Image options: [ Enlarge ] [ Full Size ]

– Approximately 103 acres in the Sierra Madre Range, Medicine Bow National Forest

– The fire is 5% contained.

– A local Type III Incident Command Team took over command of the fire early Tuesday, IC is Jerrod Delay

– Located in the West Battle Creek drainage, near the confluence with Haggarty Creek. Two miles west of the Huston Park Wilderness boundary, one mile south of Wyo Hwy 70, Battle Highway.

– Initial attack mid-day Monday by U.S. Forest Service engine (Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger District) and Carbon Co. engines

– Tuesday afternoon weather will be hot and dry with gusty winds. Potential for fire growth is high. Minimal fire growth Monday night

– Resources working the fire include one USFS and one local engine, one Type II hand crew, one Type II bulldozer, one Wildland Fire Module, one SEAT and a Type III helicopter. Other resources that will be arriving on scene include five Type VI engines, two Type II hand crews and a Type I helicopter as needed.

– Fire is burning in heavy, beetle-killed lodgepole pine and mixed conifer. Steep, rugged terrain with difficult access

– Cause is currently unknown

– Isolated cabins in the area

Basic Information

Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Unknown
Date of Origin Monday July 22nd, 2013 approx. 12:00 PM
Location T 13, R 87W, Section 1
Incident Commander Jerrod Delay

Current Situation

Size 103 acres
Fuels Involved Heavy beetle-kill lodgepole pine, mixed conifer

Unit Information

USFS Shield

Medicine Bow National Forest & Thunder Basin National Grassland
U.S. Forest Service
2468 Jackson Street
Laramie, WY 82070

Incident Contact

Fire Information
Phone: 307-745-2378

Incident Cooperators

National Wildfire Coordinating Group U.S. Forest Service Bureau of Land Managemen Bureau of Indian Affairs Fish and Wildlife Service National Park Service National Association of State Foresters U.S. Fire Administration
Content posted to this website is for information purposes only.
 
 

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