Incident Command Teams Ready for Wildfire Season

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Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - Incident management teams from around the rocky mountain region are gathered in Cheyenne this week to plan for this year's wildfire season.
"Go over standard operating procedures, kind of like a training session for folks to be able to know before we get on a fire exactly what we do. Kind of knock the rust off from a long winter," said Jay Esperance, Incident Commander for Rocky Mountain Team C.
In total, 250 incident team members from the five states that make up the rocky mountain region are collaborating to manage this year's fires.
"Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and all of the federal agencies within that area as well," said Ron Graham with the Wyoming State Forestry Division.
It's this early planning that allows homes and lives to be saved when wildfires inevitably happen.
"Within six hours you'll have from nothing to a small city already set up," Esperance said.
As Graham points out, a collaborating effort between multiple agencies is important because a wildfire knows no boundaries.
"It doesn't stop at a magic line or fence line or anything like that. It just keeps going so it's essential that we coordinate together," Graham said.
If you lived in Wyoming or Colorado during the summer of 2012, the sight of wildfire smoke in the air was a common one. However, experts are not expecting that level of destruction this year.
"Last year was lower than average in terms of number of fires and acres burned. If you remember back to 2012 was well above average number of fires and number of acres burned. So I would say somewhere in between 2012 and 2013 is what we'll see for fire activity," Graham said.
Experts say it's still early in the season and projections can change depending on the amount of moisture Wyoming sees the rest of spring.

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