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Jackson Hole community invited to wildfire open house

Wildfire season might seem a long way off, but that doesn’t stop communities from preparing for another dry summer.

Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Chief Willy Watsabaugh recalls the outpouring of gratitude and thank you notes from the community after local, state and federal firefighers battled the Horsethief Canyon Fire and several other blazes throughout Wyoming last year.

Watsabaugh said the effort made the entire firefighting team stronger.

“We had to work very closely together in a very time-sensitive situation,” Watsabaugh said.

The team is getting ready for another season.

“I anticipate a pretty active fire season,” Watsabaugh said.

Watsabaugh and other members of the Teton Area Wildfire Protection Commission will hold an open house Thursday evening for anyone who wants to come.

“We’re looking for suggestions, we’re looking for comments, we’re going to be set up to deliver an awful lot of information regarding what private individuals can do on their property,” Watsabaugh said.

After the open house, the fire department and Forest Service will be able to finalize a comprehensive strategy to keep neighborhoods safe this summer.

“Everything is in place like we need it for this year, in terms of where we’re prepositioning our crews and apparatus so that we can make a quick and efficient response,” said Mary Cernicek, a spokeswoman for the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

“We have planned as much as we can plan.We’re prepared as well as we can prepare,” Watsabaugh said.”Time will tell.”

The open house will take place Thursday, Apr. 18 at 6 p.m. at Jackson Hole Middle School.Anyone is welcome to attend.

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