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Wyoming fire season uneventful; firefighters spend more time fighting fires in other states

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CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Wyoming saw its least active wildfire season in five years, freeing up state firefighters to help with wildfires in other states, state Forester Bill Crapser said Tuesday.

"We had a few little fires, but nothing got big," Crapser said.

The total number of fires and acreage burned in the state this year won't be known until all reports are received early next year, but Crapser said the state firefighting helicopter saw below-normal action and there was only one fire that required tapping into an emergency firefighting fund.

In fact, the biggest fire on state and private land this year occurred earlier this month in Johnson County, where a fire burned about 1,150 acres of grass and trees west of Buffalo, he said. The fire began Nov. 8 and was quickly snuffed out by an early blast of snow and bitter cold on Nov. 10.

"During the traditional fire season, we didn't have any private or state lands large fires at all," he said.

Wildfire activity on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land was just as uneventful, Crapser said. "I think in the entire geographic area, the Forest Service on federal land only had a couple thousand acres of fire total," he said.

The last time the state saw this little fire activity may have been in 2009, Crapser said.

"The monsoon moisture came early and it kind of stayed on throughout the summer, and we had green grass all summer long," Crapser said. "We didn't have a lot of dry lightning. We had quite a bit of lightning activity, but it was always with a lot of moisture with it."

Wyoming-based firefighters spent most of their time fighting fires in Washington, Oregon, California and other states, Crapser said.

"This year, with us not having much, Washington and Oregon and northern California really got slammed," he said. "So we had a lot of our folks and a lot of county folks in Washington and Oregon most of the summer."

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