It’s spring — the time of year when people are thinking about cleanup. Slash pile burning and other burning is something many folks in the wildland urban interface (WUI) do as part of regular property maintenance. Here is some valuable information for everyone in the WUI.
What We Did
Bighorn Basin Firesmart did significant slash pile burning this past fall and winter in Washakie County. These projects were funded through the 2017 Washakie County CAFA Grant, which is funded by the USDA Forest Service and was approved with support from the Bighorn National Forest. This grant was made possible through the efforts of the Washakie County Fire Warden, Washakie County Commissioners, and the Wyoming State Forestry Division.
On October 9, 2019, Chris Weydeveld, Washakie County Firesmart Coordinator, burned approximately 40 slash piles within the Annie Tolman Fuels Reduction Project area.
Also in October, we burned slash piles around cabins in the Canyon Creek Country sub-division.
Over the December 6 to 8 weekend, Firesmart personnel burned an additional 200 slash piles in the Onion Gulch/Canyon Creek Country communities-at-risk (CARs) in Washakie County. Canyon Creek Country community volunteers provided snowmobiles, making it possible for us to access this snowbound area, and a long-time cabin owner donated time and snow machines for the entire weekend. Thanks to this effort, we were able to safely burn the majority of slash piles generated from the past two years’ fuels reduction project work in the area.
Below is a map of the area where we did all of this burning. It’s about 12 to 14 miles east of Tensleep and just north of the Nature Conservancy’s Tensleep Preserve
How to Safely Burn Slash Piles on Your Property
It’s that time of year, when people are thinking about cleanup. Slash pile burning and other burning is something many folks in the wildland urban interface (WUI) do as part of regular property maintenance.
1. Flame lengths may be 10 to 15 times the height and length of the pile size. Example: If a pile is five feet tall and five feet wide, the flames could extend in all directions 50 feet or more, depending on wind. With this in mind, piles should be far enough away to avoid scorching standing trees, structures or other improvements.
2. After ignition, you will need to closely monitor slash piles periodically for the next few days, to ensure fire does not spread away from the pile location.
3. Be sure to compact debris piles so they have as little air space as possible.
Anytime you burn slash piles — or anything else, be sure to contact the County Fire Warden and local dispatch to inform them of the time and day you will be burning. The Washakie County Fire Warden phone number is: (307) 347-6379. Other county fire warden numbers are here.
If you do burn this spring, please consider spreading a seed mixture of native grasses and forbs (flowers) on burn pile locations to help prevent introduction of noxious weeds and encourage native plants to take hold.
We Can Help
If you live or own property in Washakie County and have an approved Wildfire Mitigation Plan (WMP), Bighorn Basin Firesmart is available to help you burn slash piles that result from mitigation efforts. You can use our contact form, send us an email, or call us at (307) 333-1098 (office), (307) 272-9533 (mobile). Your request should include your name and the location/physical address of your home or cabin. If you have not completed a WMP, please download and complete this form.