Conservation groups are happy with the report from a federal fire policy review panel, because the group recommended the National Park Service keep its "let it burn" policy intact.
The report called for a temporary moratorium on the natural burn policy but said the controversial edict should go back into effect by next fire season.Ed Lewis, executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, said he was pleased the panel apparently reached "the right conclusion" about the natural burn policy.
"What we'll see are changes in how that policy is implemented, what thresholds apply to begin suppressing fires, better understanding and coordination amongst the agencies," Lewis said.
Uncertainties about the "let it burn" policy complicated fire fighting and confused the public last summer, the report released last week said.
The policy allows fires caused by lightning or set by land managers, to burn in parks or wilderness areas under certain conditions, but if those conditions are not president the fire is extinguished.
Lewis said he approves of the report's call for greater coordination among land managers, because that coordination is needed especially in the Yellowstone ecosystem.
Len Carlman of the Jackson Hole Alliance for Responsible Planning also said he is happy with the report.
"The basic policy is to let fire play its historic role in forest and park lands," Carlman said. "In my opinion that's no different from saying rain and wind ought to play their historic roles. It's just another force of nature."
But Bill Schilling, executive director of the Wyoming Heritage Society, dismissed the panel's effort as a report designed to protect government employees.
"If the private sector had been operating the park, heads would have rolled," he said. "In the public sector that does not happen. Government is great at stepping in after a natural disaster has occurred - earthquake, flood, fire - they create their bureaucracies, hire their people, have their training. Where they're weak is in advance planning."
Shilling also said the report limits itself to problems associated with the fires and did not address the cause - extensive stands of aged and diseased lodgepole pines and accumulated deadfall.