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Burning Hills: Theodore Rooselvelt National Park carries out controlled burns on 2,500 acres

Press Photo by Katherine Lymn1 / 6
Press Photo by Katherine Lymn2 / 6
Press Photo by Katherine Lymn3 / 6
Press Photo by Katherine Lymn4 / 6
Press Photo by Katherine Lymn5 / 6
Press Photo by Katherine Lymn6 / 6

MEDORA - If it wasn’t planned, visitors in Theodore Roosevelt National Park would have thought it was under attack.

But the National Park Service carried out a controlled burn Friday on approximately 2,500 acres in the park’s South Unit.

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The wedge-shaped burn unit, about halfway through the unit’s scenic loop, is east of Wind Canyon and north of the Jones Creek Trail.

“We got a good patchy burn and that’s what we wanted,” Chief of Resource Management Bill Whitworth said.

About 35 firefighters either monitored or ignited the fire with drip torches and flare guns for most of the day.

“It’s a mix of unleaded gasoline and diesel which gives it a little bit of a stickiness to it so it doesn’t burn as fast as straight gasoline,” Whitworth said of the drip torches. The pistols were used to shoot flares down steep drainages.

The burns are performed periodically to restore fire to areas that have historically been subjected to natural wildfire.