Comparison photos, 6 days and 39 days after escaped prescribed fire

Cold Brook Fire
Highway 385, which can be seen in the distance, was supposed to be the boundary of the prescribed fire. Only the land on the far side of the highway was planned to burn.

Wind Cave prescribed fire

These photos were taken by Bill Gabbert in the area burned when the April 13 Cold Brook prescribed fire escaped in Wind Cave National Park. In each pair of pictures, the first was taken on April 19, 6 days after the fire, and the next was taken on May 22, 39 days after the fire.

Cold Brook Fire
Looking east from the planned burn area to Highway 385 which did not serve as an adequate fire line under the conditions that day.

Wind Cave prescribed fire

Cold Brook Fire

Wind Cave prescribed fire

Cold Brook Fire
The north end of the fire, east of Highway 385.

Wind Cave prescribed fire

Related articles on Wildfire Today:

Cold Brook prescribed fire escapes in South Dakota
Wind Cave National Park bounces back from escaped prescribed fire

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

8 thoughts on “Comparison photos, 6 days and 39 days after escaped prescribed fire”

  1. Before white man this was ops normal. We have to feed the critters that in turn feed us. Fire has a role in every eco-system. Don’t understand the whining involved, every prescribed fire has the potential to be lost. In this case like most all others that were lost it did more good than harm. Even though this was a mishap myself and the bison say good job! Thanks for the chow!

  2. Point taken… but the foresters in some of us might say… too frequent fire return intervals… keeping the trees out of areas that have been “type converted” to grasslands….. Climate is all eb and flow..

    We have only been here a short time… how the heck do we know what “right” looks like?

    1. In many cases a management objective is not to recreate “right” or “natural” or pre-settlement conditions, even in National Parks. For example, at Wind Cave NP an important objective is to maintain a habitat conducive to raising the genetically pure bison that have been there 102 years, since they were reintroduced in 1913. If too many of the prairie areas are invaded by pines, there will not be enough grass for the bison. Prescribed fire has been used there for about five decades to help control pine encroachment.

      However, it would be interesting to know what Wind Cave NP would look like now if fire had been allowed to play its natural role there for the last 120 years unencumbered by suppression.

  3. It’s a good thing the fire was in South Dakota. Those photos would be illegal in Wyoming now.

  4. Am I missing something?

    Is there a new natural resources law in Wyoming that Joe Citizen doesn’t know about that has been enacted?

    If that is, there’s alot of people running around, making new rules, with little else to do…….

  5. Perhaps you could share these photos of the “wildfire damage” with Sen. Thune and Sec. Jewell before they overreact with silly legislation or policy changes. We have enough rules, just need to be more aware of weather forecasts. Not blaming, just saying, the rest of us have to live with the fallout too.

  6. Well that series of pictures shows what can only be called an unqualified success. If only we had the collective will to increase the treated areas (by a factor of 100).

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