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Firefighters Face Wildlife Challenges

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Fighting a wildfire carries with it a variety of risks – and in the forests of the Greater Yellowstone region, you can add wildlife to those risks.  Incident Commander Chris Ourada says that topic is discussed repeatedly with crews fighting the Little Horsethief Canyon Fire.  He says of particular concern are the animals on the roads, but the firefighters at spike camps along the firelines are also being reminded to store their foods out of the reach of bears. Ourada says it does not appear the fire is disturbing the wildlife in the area much.  He points out that a lot of the wildlife remains near the fire and go right back in and lick the ash which, for some reason, they seem to like.  Furthermore, he points out that this fire is 3-thousand acres which is considerably smaller than the 1988 fires in Yellowstone which did little to displace the animals there at that time.  However, wildlife has been showing up in neighborhoods around the county where they aren’t normally seen, including a bear trapped over the weekend on Pine Drive.  Wyoming Game and Fish Spokesman Mark Gocke says most likely this summer’s drought conditions are what is causing them to seek out food sources in more diverse areas.

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