Lightning-caused fires in the greater Yellowstone area will be fought by man next summer, federal officials said Monday - a temporary suspension of the controversial "let-burn" policy.
Gary Cargill of Denver, a regional forester and a member of the National Fire Policy Review Team, said the practice of allowing some naturally-caused fires to burn will be suspended until Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and area forests revamp their fire-management programs."We probably won't have enough work done to have any natural fire program by the next fire season," Cargill said. "That means we'll be in full suppression of all starts."
Cargill is also co-chairman of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, which met Monday at Billings.
Once new fire-management plans are drawn up, lightning-caused fires in Yellowstone and its surrounding forests will probably be allowed to burn, Cargill said.
Bob Barbee, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, said suppressing all fires until the new plans are in place is a "prudent" approach.
"Clearly we will have some more scientific parameters because we have learned more," he said. "One of our greatest concerns was to take years of advances (with a natural-fire policy) and throw them out the window while you wait for the next 300-year event."