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New BLM District Gives Fire Program More Flexibility

    by Angelina Pryich

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. - On March 3, 2008 the fire programs in the BLM Rock Springs and Rawlins Field Offices will merge into a single fire program with suppression responsibilities distributed throughout the newly created BLM Wyoming High Desert District.

The BLM has four engines in Rock Springs and three engines in Rawlins. Rawlins also has a Type 3 helicopter that is primarily used for fire suppression throughout the District. The Rawlins Interagency Dispatch Center will continue to provide fire dispatch service to southwestern Wyoming.

This merger will provide greater flexibility for the fire program within the District. By eliminating the need to coordinate across jurisdictional boundaries, the BLM will be able to pre-position resources throughout the District during high fire danger.

The District averages 150 fires per year. Lightning is the primary ignition source for the majority of the fires. Less than 1 percent of the fires are human-caused, which indicates that most public land users are very aware of local conditions and the volatile nature of fire.

Fire is an effective management tool to improve ecosystems and is used throughout much of the District. Most of the management areas are located within large blocks of public lands. Landowners interested in learning more about wildland fire use should contact Robert Berger, BLM Rock Springs Fuels Specialist, at (307) 352-0339.

Last updated: 06-05-2008