Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cold and Wet Should Describe More than Your Dog’s Nose

'Tis the season when hunters head afield in search of meat to fill the family freezer. It is also the time of year when temperatures are chilly or down-right cold and those who are in the backcountry often build warming fires to begin or cap off the day’s hunt.

Those fires, when not properly extinguished, can smolder and eventually come back to life. Fire prevention specialists urge hunters and all others who build fires in the wild to use water and dirt before going on your way. It is vital to make sure your fire is dead out so you can have peace of mind. Cold and wet should describe more than you dog’s nose.

Below is a message from the Bridger-Teton National Forest but it applies to all who hunt on public or private lands across the nation.

Unfortunately, when the hunt season starts in early September, we see more and more warming fires left behind from hunting activity. Most often, 90 percent of the time, the fires are in very remote areas off or near a trail and a small amount of trash might be left behind.

These fires become visible after the sun warms the fire and winds start up. They then become visible to others in the area or from passing aircraft overhead. To help determine fire cause, we look at lightning maps and other fire source indicators to eliminate the potential causes and narrow it down to actual source for the fire. 

Within two weeks on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, we have had 13 fires. All have been determined to be warming fires from hunters spotting for big game. 

We are very grateful for the hunters who do take the time to try and put out these same fires and also for taking the steps to call in the locations of these unwanted fires enabling firefighters can get to the incident before the fires get too big and costly.

Lesley Williams Gomez 
North Zone Fire Prevention, Education and Information
Forest Service
Bridger-Teton National Forest, Jackson and Blackrock Ranger Districts

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