Finding the good in fire: Roosevelt has its benefits to forest, wildlife

SUBLETTE COUNTY, WYO – Finding a silver lining from wildfire tragedy is tricky but already signs are pointing toward a flora and fauna recovery from the Roosevelt Fire that started on September 15, 2018 near Bondurant.

The devastating blaze consumed 55 structures within its 61,500-acre perimeter. Some areas burned extremely hot, others didn’t burn at all as the fire demonstrated a ‘mosaic pattern’ wildland managers say is beneficial to the health of forests.

Burn Area Recovery Map of the Roosevelt Fire. (WGFD)

This type of burn is generally a good thing for wildlife, state the Wyoming Game and Fish Department after conducting a post-fire study of vegetation and wildlife. “A mosaic pattern means there will be a diversity of vegetation age classes as it recovers which is desirable for wildlife. Aspen, sprouting shrubs, wildflowers and grass rapidly reestablish in burned areas to create great forage for many wildlife species,” the department noted.

Wyoming Game and Fish Pinedale Region Habitat Biologist Jill Randall and Pinedale Wildlife Supervisor John Lund visited the burn in late October, evaluating habitat conditions. They found some areas with wetter soils were already showing green vegetation coming back within a couple weeks of being burned, and several deer and moose tracks were also noted.

Additionally, biologists have observed several elk and deer with GPS collars have been using habitat within the burn area since the fire was first extinguished.

A great resource for fire recovery information and resources for re-vegetation can be found on the Sublette County Conservation District website.

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