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Over the years, ranchers often have tried to help the Bureau of Land Management fight range fires on public lands. After all, it's in their interest to prevent rangelands from burning up and losing vital feed for their livestock. Many ranchers have permits from the BLM to graze livestock on public lands during the summer months. The public grasslands provide important summer forage for livestock.
But in recent times, federal policy has prohibited ranchers from fighting fires on public lands for safety and liability reasons.
A range fire last year brought things to a flash point.
"We had a fire, a lightning strike that started some ground on fire over by the Blair Trail Reservoir," said Wes Wootan, a Glenns Ferry farmer and Elmore County commissioner. "Two ranchers had it controlled and shut down until the BLM could get there. "Read More