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Sunday Wildfire at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Midwest Region, August 13, 2006
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On August 13, the Mound City Rural Fire Department contacted Maintenance Mechanic Chip Lehmer about what appeared to be smoke on Squaw Creek NWR.  The smoke was in an area not easily accessible to anyone.  The previous Friday, a dry lightning storm swept through the area but didn't drop any moisture. 

It's believed that a tree in the middle of North Pool was struck and simmered for several days before strong southwest winds on the 13th ignited river bulrush and reed canary grass.  This would be the first known fire that started in this manner in more than 30 years.

Refuge Manager Ronald Bell, Refuge Biologist Frank Durbian, and Tractor Operator and Lehmer, arrived at the scene as the fire began to sweep toward a mowed firebreak. 

Unfortunately, the refuge fire truck was on detail in the state of Utah and the only source of water was small tanks on the back of ATV's.  The Mound City Rural Fire Department assisted by monitoring the fire along the break while the Refuge staff began to extinguish the fire along the line.  The fire department also brought a 1,000-gallon tender to recharge Refuge tanks.

A thunderstorm crossed the area by mid-afternoon and extinguished the fire as nearly an inch of rain fell in a short period of time. 

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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