Johnson County Discusses Gilead Fire Costs, No Action Yet

GileadFire_Western Flank Courtesy of Incident Command.jpg
GileadFire_Western Flank Courtesy of Incident Command.jpg

At this week's meeting the Johnson County Commissioners discussed the Gilead Fire, costs associated with the fire, and where the situation stands now.

The US Forest Service and Bighorn National Forest officials had approached the county to help pay for the roughly $3.3 million in costs associated with the fire suppression efforts.
The Johnson County Fire Board has offered $250,000 and the state has offered $200,000 toward the costs on the Gilead Fire.

The BHNF only wants reimbursed for costs on lands outside of their jurisdiction, and traditionally negotiations have been resolved by percentage of acres burned. If that formula is used on the Gilead Fire, the USFS would be responsible for 75% of costs, Johnson County at 18% and the state at 7%. By dollar amount, it would require the county pay $600,000 and state to pay $233,000.

The Commissioners discussed where things now sit, with paperwork filed with the State Forestry Office to review the situation, but so far none of the entities involved has heard anything back from the office.

Commissioner Hicks said if the Fire District had offered $250,000 toward the costs, maybe the commission should look into the State Fire Suppression Account for help.

The Commission will discuss the issue with Johnson County Fire District One and with State Forester Bill Crapser and make a decision on how to move forward based on those conversations.

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