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.”
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”