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Lightning Triggers Rash of Fires

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Not unexpectedly, fires appeared one-by-one around Bridger Teton National Forest Wednesday following an early Wednesday morning thunderstorm that had particularly high lightning activity.  Satellite reports totaled over 3700 lightning strikes with at least 17 of them showing the potential of sparking wildfires.  By days end, Forest Spokesperson Mary Cernicek says eight fires had resulted on the northern end of the forest alone.  Among those fires were the Leeks Canyon Fire near the top of Snow King Mountain, the Butler Creek Fire near Butler Creek Subdivision on Fall Creek Road, the Wolf fire southeast of Wolf Mountain, and the Elk Refuge Fire two miles east of Gros Ventre Junction on the northern end of the refuge. Other fires include the Cabin Creek Fire in the Snake River Canyon, and the Visser fire on the Greys River Ranger District.  All of those fires are being immediately suppressed and were measured at ½ or less or an acre. The Nowlin Fire in the Teton Wilderness is also lightning caused and was last estimated to involve 800 acres, while the Teton Science Fire near the Jackson Campus of Teton Science School caused a major stir throughout the community. Cernicek says the threat is not over as lightning fires can “sleep” for several days before they flare up.  Cernicek urges members of the public to report any smoke they see as soon as possible by calling 911 or the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center. Cernicek also cautions those seeking to recreate on the forest to be careful not to enter areas affected by fires, and considering the current conditions, to be extremely cautious with their own use of fire while camping or picnicking.

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