Pile burning at Yellowstone’s northeast entrance will result in smoke today Biome Tree Buckrail - Jackson Hole, news
Wildland crews prepare pile burn. Pile burning in BTNF will begin as early as this week and could last through early November. Photo: NPS

JACKSON, Wyo. — Bridger-Teton National Forest announced today, Oct. 19, plans to begin annual slash pile burning in a number of locations.

According to BTNF, sufficient winter weather conditions now exist to begin burns. Crews have been stacking downed timber and brush into 10-foot high tepee-like piles throughout the summer.

Pile burning could begin as early as this week and last into November 2021.

Locations within the Jackson Ranger District include Phillips Ridge to Fish Creek, Cottonwood Work Center off of Fall Creek Road, Bryan Flats Guard Station south of Hoback Junction, and fence post piles in the Gros Ventre area.

The Forest anticipates shutting the Philips Ridge gate on the evening of Oct. 26.

“Pile burning is highly weather dependent,” said Assistant Fire Management Officer Josh Erickson for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. “As areas come into favorable weather conditions, specialists will hand ignite piles. This process relies on coordination with the National Weather Service and Air quality regulators to determine the best possible weather conditions that promote smoke dispersal and limit smoke impacts to local and regional communities.”

Piles are typically a result of fuels reduction projects on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Pile burning removes undesirable fuels for long-term public safety and is an important part of the USDA Forest Service fire/fuels annual program of work.

Forest users and the public should be aware of and expect to see smoke throughout the upcoming months. Piles may be burned near communities, travel routes, and popular recreation areas. Access may be temporarily restricted in areas while burning operations are underway to allow firefighters to work most efficiently. The burning of highly visible piles will be re-advertised on the Forest website and social media closer to the date of ignition.

Pile Locations across the Forest include:

Greys River Ranger District
• Lost creek east of Thayne, including dispersed debris piles throughout the main Greys River drainage.

Kemmerer Ranger District
• Big Park, and J-Park, around to Kelly guard station

Blackrock Ranger District
• Blackrock Administrative site in Moran

“We take advantage of significant moisture, usually snow, cooler weather and shorter burning periods this time of year to burn slash piles from important urban interface projects”, Erickson said. “Cutting and piling of fuels, helps moderate fuel conditions from potential wildfires and burning of these fuels during this time of year allows firefighters to utilize abundant moisture as a natural suppression resource. As conditions dry out, periodically in the fall, pile burns may smolder in needle duff and firefighters will monitor completed pile burn areas to ensure that all elements remain in prescription.”

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Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.