fire

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The Bureau of Land Management has announced it will be lighting controlled burns in Southwest Wyoming. The target area includes more than 7,000 acres around Iron Mountain, Middle Canyon, and Montgomery pasture. Spokesperson Shelley Gregory says the controlled burn should actually make the area less prone to wild fires.

“A lot of areas are in need of burns because natural fires have not come through there in a while to maintain the balance. And so the BLM is just going in to restore that balance.”

Fire crews are responding to reports of a forest fire burning in the Southern Snowy Range area near Lake Owen.

Aaron Voos with the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest says little is known at the moment, but many members of the public called to report smoke in the area.

“We’re just trying to figure out an exact location and do a size-up on it," said Voos. "We do have both County and Forest Service crews that are en route as well as a type 3 helicopter.”

A fire burned for more than six hours at the Sinclair Oil refinery in south-central Wyoming.

Officials with Salt Lake City-based Sinclair say nobody was hurt.

The fire started around 3:30 a.m. Friday in the plant's alkylation unit. The refinery's fire department extinguished the flames around 10 a.m.

The company said in a release it had notified Wyoming workplace safety regulators and begun an investigation. The refinery continued to operate at normal rates.

In 2012, three fires injured seven workers at the refinery in the town of Sinclair.

Five workers were injured in a fire that broke out around 10:15 Friday morning at an Encana facility in the Jonah Field near Pinedale.

“We do know that some welding work was being conducted on some condensate tanks," company spokesperson Doug Hock says. "This was a battery of half a dozen tanks. However, the exact reason for the fire is not known at this time.”

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An explosion at the Sinclair Refinery near Rawlins on Friday night resulted in a fire.

The explosion occurred around 10 p.m. on Friday. No one was injured, and by 3 a.m. the fire was under control. The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is investigating the incident. The cause is still unknown.

NASA

Three miners are being treated for serious burns after a coal-dust fire at the North Antelope Rochelle mine on Tuesday.

The fire started while the workers were changing a bearing on a conveyor, according to Amy Louviere, a spokesperson for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. She writes in an email that coal dust filled the space the workers were in, and was ignited by the machinery. The agency is investigating.

Two hospitalized after Sinclair refinery fire

Jul 31, 2013

Two people were taken to the hospital after a fire started at the Sinclair Refinery near Rawlins yesterday.

John Ysebaert with Wyoming’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA, says the fire started when workers who were erecting scaffolding tripped a valve. That released so-called “super-heated diesel,” which ignites when it hits the atmosphere.

OSHA is investigating the incident.

A wildfire is threatening some summer homes and campgrounds southwest of Lander.

The homes in Homestead Park and campers in Sinks Canyon were evacuated today as the Fairfield Fire spread in hot and windy conditions in grass and sagebrush. Forest Service spokeswoman Kristie Salzman said about 50 structures were threatened but it's not clear how many of them are homes and how many were occupied.

The area is a very popular spot in the summer, attracting rock climbers, mountain bikers and hikers.

Conditions are favorable for firefighters trying to corral one of Wyoming's first significant wildfires this year.

The 300-acre wildfire is burning in a remote area 15 miles southeast of Casper, not far from Muddy Mountain. Lighting is believed to have started the fire sometime last weekend.

The fire has burned about 300 acres of mixed pine, grass and sagebrush.

Wyoming fire officials say the wet spring this year has been helpful, but they’re still unsure what it will mean for the fire season this year. 

Wyoming forest officials anticipate another heavy fire season for this year.

Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser says recent warm winters have been great for the pine beetle population. He adds that Wyoming pine forests are full of densely-packed stands with trees of the same age, which makes them especially vulnerable to beetles, and that makes them more likely to burn.

Slash piles around the state are still intact in Wyoming, which is unusual. Slash piles are made of accumulated debris from clearing forests or trimming trees and typically by this time in the year, they’ve been burned.

The Fire Management Officer for the Wyoming State Forestry Division, Ron Graham, says they’ve started burning piles in the Casper Mountain, Muddy Mountain, and Black Hills area, but low snow pack has delayed the burning.

Firefighters are making progress against a 400-acre wildfire threating 13 homes in western Wyoming.
 
The fire was 20 percent contained Wednesday. It ignited Sunday 30 miles west of Pinedale and has prompted some evacuation orders.
 
No buildings have been reported lost. The cause remains under investigation.

The Sheep Herder Hill fire near Casper remains fifty percent contained. There are currently 354 people fighting the fire and evacuations remain in place.  Public Information Officer, Susan Ford, says that at least 37 homes have been destroyed.

Ford says wet, colder weather has helped fire fighters with the blaze, but this weekend promises hot, dry conditions once again.

The Cemetery Fire just east of Upton is about 75 percent contained, and Weston County Fire Warden Daniel Tysdal is optimistic it will be 100 percent contained by tomorrow.

Tysdal says evacuation orders have all been lifted, but the fire did destroy some structures.

“We believe we’ve lost one primary residence and multiple outbuildings,” Tysdal said. “There’s still a couple of homeowners that we need to make contact with and verify exactly what they had for outbuildings, but right now I can say ... it was one primary residence and numerous outbuildings.”

Twelve homes have been evacuated because of a fire near Upton, in northeast Wyoming, and another 20 are on pre-evacuation status.

Weston County Sheriff Bryan Colvard says the fire is a mile east of Upton and isn’t threatening the town at the moment, but he says residents need to be vigilant.

2012 has been the worst fire year on record for Wyoming, according to the Wyoming State Forestry Division.

State Forester Bill Crapser says there’s been more fire activity, and fires have been larger and more extreme than ever before.

“Statewide, the only year that we came close to the same amount of acreage would have been way back in 1988 with the Yellowstone fires,” Crapser said.

The holiday weekend is expected to be hot and dry, so Crapser warns that anyone recreating outside should be exceptionally careful not to start fires.

The largest wildfire in Wyoming this season has been declared contained.
 
The Arapaho Fire in the Laramie Peak area of the Medicine Bow National Forest was declared 100 percent contained on Thursday.
 
The fire has burned about 153 square miles since lightning started it on June 27.  At its peak, the fire had around 1,000 firefighters assigned to it.
 
The U.S. Forest Service cautions that there is extensive fire damage and people should use caution within the burned area.
 

Firefighters are slowing the spread of a wildfire burning in south-central Wyoming's Carbon County.

The Ferris Fire, about 30 miles northeast of Rawlins, has burned nearly 9-thousand acres and is 63 percent contained.

Fire managers say crews have been able to hold the fire on the north, east and south sides. However, steep, rugged terrain on the west side of the fire has made it harder to stop the blaze there.

The cause of the wildfire, which was first reported July 27, remains under investigation. 

Fires burning around Wyoming are impacting livestock, in addition to people. The Wyoming Livestock Board estimates that between 8,000 and almost 13,000 head have been displaced as a result of the fires.

Board Director Leanne Stevenson, says the board issued an emergency order allowing for the movement of livestock between county lines without the brand inspection that is normally required.   

The Arapaho fire near Wheatland is the second highest priority fire in the Rocky Mountain Region as of today. It’s burned nearly 88,000 acres and has forced 300 homes to be evacuated.

Public Information Officer Jim Whittington says erratic winds have pushed the fire in multiple directions, and he says it spread fast.

“The first day it was at 5,000 acres and then a couple days later it was at 75,000 acres. You’re talking 25, 30 thousand acres a day,” Whittington said. “This fire still has a lot of potential, and it obviously grew very fast, very quickly.”

A fire near Woods Landing in southeast Wyoming has burned 7,000 acres, and hundreds of residents are being asked to evacuate.

The fire has more than tripled in size since this morning. Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley says fire officials tell him they’ve never seen fires spread this fast.

“The moisture level is such that it’s low enough that even green grass burns like dry grass," O'Malley said. "In some situations, the fire has moved as fast as five miles in one hour.”

Crews battling the wildfire near Wheatland are bracing for high winds tomorrow/Saturday.

Fire information officer Beth Hermanson says yesterday’s storms dumped rain on parts of the fire, but that didn’t help much overall. And she says the weather forecast for tomorrow doesn’t look promising.

“The National Weather Service has told us that we will more than likely see high winds on our fire – possibly up to seventy miles an hour,” Hermanson said. “So fire fighters today are strengthening the lines in preparation for that event.”

The National Park Service is seeking public comment in how to manage wildfires in Yellowstone National Park.

The park has undertaken an effort to update its fire management plan to reflect recent changes in federal fire policy.

The Park Service is accepting public comments on identifying what issues should be considered in the environmental review of any proposed changes.