Originally Posted by timetogo
Not the first time a small fire not taken care of, turned into a mess. Wait for the finger pointing.
Only folks with no knowledge of wild fire, ecology, and science in general will object to the scope of this fire.
Starting in the early years of the last century, folks tried to suppress every fire that started. It became heroic to battle the fires. It also built up a massive load of fuel in the forests. In 1988 in Yellowstone it resulted in fires that consumed one third of the park. Natural fires recycle nutrients and make natural fire breaks for future fires.
In the greater Yellowstone area, the Lodgepole Pine makes up 80% or more of the forests. It is a tree with some interesting characteristics that promote fire. It grows tall and the lower branches droop downwards. In a dense stand of trees, dead trees often don't fall, they end up leaning against nearby trees. Fire can easily climb these 'ladder trees' to the crowns and burn with great heat, way off the ground. The Lodgepole pine has thin bark that gives little protection from fire. One of it's cone types is sealed with sap. This serotinous cone stores seeds until a fire passes. When the heat reaches 113º or so, the sap softens and the cone opens and releases it's seeds onto the nutrient rich soil below that now gets sunlight through the burned canopy. The tree reseeds itself. The new trees, grasses and shrubs that grow provide ground cover and food for large and small animals.
Since the 1960's, when these benefits of fire were recognized, forest fire fighting policy changed. The media coverage of '88 fires of Yellowstone made people think the whole park was going up in flames. Folks wanted the fires put out. Even President Reagan demanded control of the fires. They burned from June until September, millions were spent fighting them when finally snow put them out.
The Berry Fire was detected soon after lightning set it. It was in an uninhabited part of Grand Teton NP, far from roads and buildings. A wind storm caused it to skip across the lake and burn across the highway. The only building threatened is an abandoned historic fire lookout tower built in the 1930's which is being wrapped in foil.
A nearby fire has mostly run it's course about 60 miles from the Berry Fire. Called the Lava Mountain fire, it too was lightning caused. It did threaten hundreds of vacation homes in it's area. Over 12,000 acres burned, over 1,000 fire fighters, 0 buildings damaged.