BLM Wyoming: wildfires tend to harm rangeland wildlife, benefit invasive plants like cheatgrass - Casper, WY Oil City News
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BLM Wyoming: wildfires tend to harm rangeland wildlife, benefit invasive plants like cheatgrass

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CASPER, Wyo. — As part of “Wildfire Preparedness Week,” the Bureau of Land Management Wyoming shared some information on Tuesday, May 5 about the negative impacts wildfires can have on rangelands.

“Unlike forested areas, rangelands often do not benefit from fire,” BLM Wyoming says. “Invasive plants, like cheatgrass, thrive after rangeland wildfires. This affects the home of hundreds of plants and animals that we all care about.”

“Please do your part. Take extra precaution before venturing out on public lands and be careful with anything that could start a fire.”

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The National Interagency Fire Center say that on average, 87% of all wildfires in the United States are human caused.

“On America’s rangelands, one less spark really can mean one less wildfire,” the NIFC added. “The BLM and land management agencies need your help to prevent wildfires this summer. The public plays a valuable role in preventing wildfires.”

They shared the following video on Facebook about the impact of wildfires on rangelands:

With fire season approaching, BLM Wyoming shared some fire prevention tips in April:

-More people may be recreating on public lands during this time of social distancing. Be aware of local public safety area closures. Take extra precaution before venturing out and be careful with anything that could start a fire.

-Maintain your mechanical equipment. Many human-caused wildfires occur near roadways, communities and recreational areas, posing considerable public safety threats. Carry a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.

-If towing a boat or trailer, ensure your safety chains are properly secure and not dragging on the ground. 

-Never park your vehicle over dead grass and avoid driving through tall grass—your vehicle can ignite the fuels and start a fire. 

-When camping on public lands, never leave your campfire unattended. Ensure your campfire is “dead” out before leaving or turning in for the night. If your campfire is too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

-If target shooting, please take all the proper precaution measures to be fire-safe—select an area that is free of flammable materials and bring a fire extinguisher or water to extinguish any flames. Exploding targets and tracer ammunition are prohibited for use on all public lands in Wyoming per the year-round wildfire prevention restrictions.

BLM Wyoming

“Firefighter and public safety are the top priorities in wildfire management,” BLM Wyoming added. “If you operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS), commonly called a drone, please remember that unauthorized UAS flights over or near a wildfire endanger the lives of pilots, firefighters and members of the public.”

BLM Wyoming added that there are a number of restrictions in place all year which people should follow.

“Year-round restrictions include not using or discharging fireworks; not discharging a firearm using incendiary or tracer ammunition; and not burning, igniting or causing any tire, wire, magnesium or any other hazardous explosive material to burn,” the release states. “You also must have properly installed spark arresters on any off road vehicles to legally operate them on BLM-administered public lands.”

“Preventable wildfires threaten lives, property and precious resources every year. Firefighters are needed more than ever to keep Americans safe, so please do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires.”