Jackson Hole area: Prescribed burn set for Lower Slide Lake area

4500 acres of 17,000 acre habitat important project to be burned this fall-

Any comments about this will be welcome. The story says the burn could last as few as 6 days but as long as 6 weeks. So what about folks who live nearby?

Prescribed burn set for Lower Slide Lake area. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole News and Guide.





  1. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    I can’t comment with knowledge of the area. However, I went on the net to find out more about the issue; here are a few sources from the past that give more information. It sounded reasonable and beneficial to me.

    http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=5095 newspaper release in 2009

    http://gacc.nifc.gov/egbc/dispatch/wy-tdc/prescribed-fires.html Teton Interagency Fire

    http://gacc.nifc.gov/egbc/dispatch/wy-tdc/wildland-fires.html includes a map

  2. Jeff Avatar

    They have been burning areas in the Lower Gros Ventre Canyon from just east of Kelly all the way up to Red Hills Ranch for I think a couple of years now. If memory serves me well it was to improve bighorn habitat by clearing out junipers and opening up the hillsides. I also vaguely remember one getting out of control. It can certainly smoke up the valley.

  3. Jeff Avatar

    Next spring the burned areas are definetly much greener than the unburned areas.

  4. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    Well, I certainly hope this prescribed burn goes better than the one they botched up by Helena at the end of August. The USFS Helena MT forest managers ignored all the warnings and deviated from their own prescribed guidelines and a planned 500 acre burn became the 2,000 acre Davis wildfire which threatened private lands and structures, costing over $ 2 million to control. The fire managers were warned of gusty winds from an approaching cold front on a 94 degree day , Red Flag conditions, but proceeded on. And botched it, big time.

    The Forest Service has a bad habit about that, Playing With Fire.


  5. Jeff Avatar

    I think generally they do a good job and most burns go ahead without a hitch—however it only takes one screw up to taint the public’s memory for a long time.

  6. Cobra Avatar

    Do they ever try burns in the lolo?

    1. Jeff B. Avatar
      Jeff B.

      I know the Lolo is bigger than what you see from the highway but don’t you think it’s burnt enough. The area north of the highway still hasn’t grown back. Looks like hell a decade later and almost no regeneration. People like to use the Yellowstone recovery as an example why burning is good but you don’t see them focusing on places like Lolo pass because it doesn’t fit their skewed data model. The fact is, every place is unique and demands an approach targeted to that specific location.

      1. Barb Rupers Avatar
        Barb Rupers

        Was not a lot of the land recently burned northwest of Lolo pass on Highway 12 part of Plum Creek Timber Company lands, which resulted from checkerboard railroad land grants of the 1800s, clearcut prior to the recent burns? Could that be the reason there appears to be no regeneration?

      2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

        Barb Rupers,

        That is certainly what I thought.

        There have been natural fires too of considerable extent in the Lolo in the last decade. My look at them is that they are your typical patchy burn and will finally result in improved habitat for elk in the fairly near future.

        The Plum Creek railroad land grants will take a lot longer.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The first time I ever drove down Highway 12 was in 1976. They were conducting springtime burns near the highway.

      They had signs up telling it was to prevent elk habitat from being entirely replaced by mature forest. So the crash in the elk population was anticipated and some effort was made to prevent it or make it less severe.

  7. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
    Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

    Yes, the declining habitat productivity due to forest succession following the great fires of 1910 and 30’s was understood, studied and written about for decades – by the USFS and IDFG.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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