The Bighorn National Forest issued a press release today lifting the closure of some of the area around the Gilead Fire, northwest of Buffalo.
Forest supervisor Bill Bass has reduced the temporary area closure for the Gilead Fire by 13,435 acres, opening up 371 acres to the northeast and 13,064 acres to the southwest.
District Ranger Mark Booth said, “With the successful firefighting efforts over the last several days, I feel it is safe to reopen portions of the closure area. We still need to keep some areas closed until a season-ending event occurs and firefighting operations have ceased.”
Booth also noted that since the fire could become active in some locations when afternoon and evening temperatures warm up, especially with gusty winds, it is not safe for people to use the roads and trails within the closure area. Additionally, the root systems of trees in the burned area have been weakened, making them more likely to fall.
Trails that remain closed include Forest Service 039, 553, 549, 051, 550, 401, 131, 041, and portions of trails 040 and 043. Forest Trail 040 is closed from its junction with trail 034 southerly with its junction with trail 043. The last one mile of Forest Service road 396 will also remain closed.
The revised area closure, a map showing the closure area, and Gilead Fire information are available on the Internet atwww.inciweb.org/incident/3220/ and www.fs.usda.gov/bighorn/, at the Powder River Ranger District office in Buffalo, the Hunter Trailhead, the Chamber of Commerce in Buffalo, and the store in Story.
Violation of the special order is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor. Violators may be fined $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
Due to very high fire danger, Stage I fire restrictions are in effect on the Bighorn National Forest. Fire restrictions are posted to the Bighorn’s website at www.fs.usda.gov/bighorn/.
For more information about conditions on the Bighorn National Forest, please contact the ranger district office in Buffalo, Lovell, or Sheridan.