Multiple fire incidents keep firefighters busy
by Sublette County Unified Fire
May 10, 2018
Sublette County Fire has been busy week so far. We have responded to multiple reports of fires since May 3rd and one reported gas leak. On the 7th alone, there were three separate fire calls requiring some SCUF units to respond to back-to-back-to-back calls from across the county as well as U.S. Forest Service and BLM firefighting crews for additional support.
The fires encountered varied in causes and materials involved. Some were initially started as controlled burns that exceeded the containment efforts of property owners when the wind decided to pick up after the fires were started, while another was unintentional, but was potentially started when sparks were created during mechanical ditch cleaning. One fire involved a pallet of lost well circulation material that was previously shrink-wrapped by using plastic and a torch to "shrink" the wrapping. One of the locations even required a second response after the landowner drug the previously burned area with a tractor possibly allowing air to reach still hot fuels and rekindle unburned grass.
Dryer than normal conditions around the lower elevations this year, along with moderate winds, have really sapped the moisture from the "finer" fuels such as grasses and small bushes (willows and sage brush) causing them to readily burn and allow fire to rapidly spread.
Here are a few pointers to consider when planning to burn or conduct "hot work" such as welding or grinding:
• Plan ahead!
• Always Call in to the Sublette County Sherriff’s Office to inform them of your plans to burn. This provides a heads-up to SCUF so they can have an idea of planned burns in the area.
• Go to the National Weather Service’s Website at https://www.weather.gov/riw/ or call them at
1-800-211-1448 to request a fire weather report for your location before burning. Check out the Agricultural Burning link at the bottom of the page for information, tips, forecast maps and other resources.
• When welding, torch cutting, grinding or any other spark producing activity, work in an area free of combustible material such as grass or wood piles. An area 35’ in diameter free of combustibles around hot work activities is a recommended distance – windy conditions could require even more.
• Don’t hesitate to notify your neighbors of your plans.
• At least have hand tools (shovels, rakes, etc.) and a properly rated fire extinguisher available when burning. Equipment such as water trailers, hoses and the like are also great to have in the event the fire gets out of hand.
• Call 911 to request the fire department – The sooner the better!
How to Join the local fire department:
• Call the main office at 307-367-4550 for more information or apply online at