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Fire Danger Rising

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It is not even mid-June and drought conditions in areas surrounding northwestern Wyoming are already producing wildfires – and Yellowstone National Park has just announced it has elevated its fire danger rating to “moderate.”  Here in Jackson Hole, that rating remains low, but Grand Teton National Park’s Fire Communication and Education Specialist Traci Weaver says that respite may be relatively short-lived.  She says this absolutely a different year than last year and we are much drier than we were last year.  With the warm, dry weather we have been experiencing early on, she says the lands in the area will dry out quickly. Weaver recalls that the area has had small fire starts as early as May first in the park and on the forest due to the remaining dried grass from last fall, and she urges continued care and vigilance. She points out that there has been dry lightning and often strikes will smolder for days before coming to life as a fire.  She asks that if anyone witnesses such a strike, they report it to the county immediately.  Weaver says the future of fire season depends a lot on whether the area gets its typical June rains – which she quickly adds doesn’t seem to be setting up in the ten-day forecast.

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