We call grass a “one-hour fuel” because after one hour in the sun, it is as burnable as ever. Soon after clouds and rain, grass dries. Fire danger should be very high across the Reservation for the start of Crow Fair. Gusts of 30 mph dried out our moisture Saturday morning. Sun and temperatures in the 90’s return Sunday through Tuesday.
About 40 lightning strikes since Friday evening sprinkled West and East Pryor Mountains, Garvin Basin, Big Bull and Black Canyon areas, Red Rock Springs, Willow Creek, Pass Creek, Bear Creek, and Corral Creek in the Wolf Mountains. Lightning often smolders for several days before it shows up as a fire.
We have five “RAWS” (remote automated weather stations) on the Reservation, that send observations each hour by satellite to the National Weather Service website http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/byz/current.php. They show some blessed rain Saturday: .11” in the Pryors, .25” in the Big Horns, and .15” in the Wolf Mtns. However, a “wetting rain” that actually soaks in to lessen timber fire danger takes more than .25”: a quarter inch. Our 2011 Hoss fire in Black Canyon blew up after a quarter inch of rain.
Pryor engines responded in town Friday to the 1/10 acre Little Light fire. The Crow Tribe has prohibited open burning, but children tried to burn trash in a barrel, and the fire caught the grass.
The 15 acre Peterson fire Saturday north of Pryor was probably a lightning strike. Three engines stopped that fire in rangeland and stubble.
Because it’s so dry, take water and a shovel and fire extinguisher to Crow Fair! Be sure to keep water handy.