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‘We want to deal with fire on our terms'
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Teams of Gunbarrel firefighters were in protection mode Wednesday. This Idaho-based Hot Shot crew prepares a perimeter water line around a Mormon Creek cabin. Tribune photo by Toby Bonner
Crews fighting the Gunbarrel Fire on the North Fork were on the offensive Wednesday, protecting structures and planning for burn-out operations around lodges and along U.S. 14-16-20.
Burn-out operations were scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, weather permitting.
The fire had grown to 32,590 acres by Wednesday morning, but according to fire officials, it was moving slower than in previous days.
Ben Brack, public information officer trainee for Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team A, said, “Yes, it's growing, but it's progressing west at a slower pace.”
Elephant Head Lodge, Crossed Sabres Ranch and Goff Creek Lodge, as well as a cabin east of Eagle Creek Campground, all on the west edge of the fire, were evacuated late Tuesday. The campground at Eagle Creek is under a “precautionary evacuation alert,” according to an update sent by the fire management office.
“The fire hasn't overtaken the area, but, because of movement, we decided to evacuate. The evacuations will allow fire managers to conduct burn-outs around the structures,” said Brack.
August 06, 2008 2:18 pm

Soccer camp proving successful

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Kalina Smith blocks a shot attempt during her time as a goalie in a game called Top Gun at Pat D'Alessandro's soccer camp. Tribune photo by David Dickey

August 06, 2008 2:16 pm

People feeling the force of fire

Two days ago, I wrote a piece expounding the benefits of forest fires — the Gunbarrel Fire, in particular.
The positives of the fire, in an area with 50-80 percent beetle killed trees, are indisputable.
The health of the land depends on fire — to cleanse and promote new growth in weakened areas.
It was just a matter of time, anyway. The North Fork has been a veritable tinderbox for years.
But as the fire swallows up acre after acre, things have turned personal for many.
Late Sunday, Sweetwater Lodge was consumed. My grandparents owned the lodge years ago — much of our family lore is intertwined with Sweetwater. So even though I hadn't spent much time there, I felt a pang of sadness at the news.
By Tuesday evening, the fire raging on the North Fork had grown to nearly 33,000 acres. E-mails arrived saying the fire had moved into the Libby Creek drainage and was moving toward Mormon Creek.
Mormon Creek is home to the Bonner family cabin — a structure the family dedicated many summers to building some 50 years ago.
It's a place I've come to love over the last several years.
Firefighters on Wednesday began installing sprinklers around the building to protect it should the fire advance down Mormon Creek.
So far, the cabin is safe, but the anxiety will hang over us, much like the smoke shrouding the Basin, until it's out of danger.
I know I'm not alone. More people feel the power and destruction of the fire each day as it encroaches on civilization.
The change from natural to threatening came fast. For many of us, it's now personal.
The fall sports season is just around the corner, and Jeff Jones, Powell High School's activities director and assistant principal, has released the start times for the first day of practice for all fall sports teams.
Each of PHS's fall teams will open practice Monday, Aug. 18.
Leading the way into the 2008 fall season will be the PHS football and golf teams. PHS's football squad will begin practice at 6:30 a.m. and continue until 12:30 p.m. on the practice field across from the Panthers' football stadium. The boys and girls golf teams also have a scheduled 6:30 a.m. start time. Their practices will be conducted at Powell Golf Club.
The PHS volleyball team and boys and girls tennis teams will open practice at 7 a.m. The volleyball team's first practice session of the day is set for 7-10 a.m. Their second session will be from 4-6 p.m. Both volleyball practice sessions will be at the gymnasium at the new high school. The tennis teams, following their first practice session at 7 a.m., will have a second session from 4-6 p.m. Practices for the tennis teams are scheduled for Westside Courts.
The boys and girls cross country teams have one practice session set for Monday, Aug. 18, and it will begin at 8 a.m. at the PHS Track.
The Lady Panther swimmers have two sessions set for the opening day of practice. The first will be from 8-10 a.m., and the second is from 4-6 p.m. Both practice sessions will be at the PHS pool.
Also opening practice will be the PHS cheerleading squad, which will start preparing for the upcoming season in the PHS wrestling room at the new high school. Their practice time is slated for 4-5:30 p.m.
August 06, 2008 2:14 pm

Betty Fern Moore

May 28, 1932 - July 29, 2008
Betty Fern Moore, 76, of Casper, died Tuesday, July 29, at the Wyoming Medical Center. She was 76.
She was born May 23, 1932 in Sidney, Mont., the daughter of John and Emma Dalke. She married Oliver Moore Oct. 21, 1951, in Powell, and they became parents of three children.
She is survived by daughters Judith Pratt of Salem, Ore., Gaylan McMurray of Casper and son Allen (Tara) Moore of Casper, seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, a brother Melven Dalke of Powell, sisters Estella Burnett of Powell and Glenda Taylor Casper, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, and husband, Oliver.
Services were held Saturday, Aug. 2 at Faith Assembly of God Church in Casper. Newcomer Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Powell High School alumni will convene in Powell this weekend for the 93rd all-class reunion, with a special emphasis on Powell's centennial year.

Individual classes will gather Friday to renew friendships and reminisce about the “good old golden-rule days” in the Powell schools.

June 23, 2009 4:18 am

Flames force evacuations

Firefighters contain Gunbarrel fire to north side of U.S. 14-16-20

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This Sikorsky S-64 Air-Crane helicopter made multiple trips to the Shoshone River Saturday, refilling with water to help in the fire fighting efffort. While crews are not actively trying to suppress the Gunbarrel Fire, they are attempting to keep it on the north side of U.S. 14-16-20. Tribune photo by Toby Bonner

Raging flames in the Gunbarrel fire forced evacuations of two North Fork lodges over the weekend and put others on alert.

But, thanks to the efforts of hard-working firefighters, the fire claimed only an empty dog house.

As of Monday, firefighters had held the fire to the north side of U.S. 14-16-20. That was despite unfavorable weather conditions, including high temperatures, low humidity and high, erratic winds, according to an update from the Laura McConnell, public information officer Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team A.

By Monday, the fire had grown to 21,995 acres — up from 1,000 acres just a week before. Containments costs were estimated at $1 million.

The fire is burning 40 miles west of Cody near Gunbarrel and Goff creeks. It is burning in areas with heavy dead and downed timber with 50-80 percent beetle-killed spruce and fir trees.

The fire was zero percent contained. To date, firefighters' efforts focus on protecting threatened structures and resources.

Young squad earns berth in state event
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Gianluca Giarrizzo is a study in concentration as he prepares to make contact with a pitch against Cody during the West District Class A Tournament in Powell last week. Tribune photo by David Dickey
A six-team field battled for the top spot in the West District Class A Tournament in Powell last week, and the Jackson Giants emerged as the first-place finisher after topping the Cody Cubs 10-9 in Sunday's championship game.
Powell, the event's host team, achieved a 1-2 mark during its matchups and was forced to settle for third place, and Riverton finished fourth. The top four teams qualified for Legion Baseball's Class A State Tournament, which is slated to begin Wednesday in Cheyenne, and only the combined Worland-Lander team and Lovell were left on the outside looking in from the West District following last week's action at Ed Lynn Field. As for the East District, Wheatland, last year's state champion, garnered the first-place trophy and finished ahead of Cheyenne, Gillett and Douglas, who rounded out spots two through four.
For the Powell Pioneers (32-19), their bid for the district title ended after three games in the double-elimination tournament. During their first contest against Riverton, Powell emerged as a 12-1 winner in a five-inning affair and qualified for this week's games in Cheyenne. However, Coach Jeff Young's team dropped a 6-3 decision to Cody in the semifinals and fell 11-6 to Jackson in a Saturday loser-out game. Despite the fact the Pioneers will enter the state event with a two-game losing streak, Coach Young remains optimistic about his team's chances for a strong finish to the 2008 season.
“I think we're going to be OK,” Coach Young said. “I think the guys were a little disappointed that they didn't finish better, but I don't have any major concerns going into state. Our main goal last week was to win that first game and qualify for state, and we took care of that. Then we lost a close game against Cody and ran into a Jackson team that's been playing really well lately.
August 04, 2008 2:34 pm

Fires part of natural cycle

Driving through Yellowstone late Sunday, the monstrous smoke cloud from the Gunbarrel Fire on the North Fork loomed large on the horizon.
An update from the Interagency Fire Use Management Teams at mid-day said the fire had grown to about 22,000 acres — from a little over 1,000 acres a week ago.
Believe it or not, that's good news.
People who spend much time on the North Fork have seen the ugly destruction wrought by bark beetles over the last number of years.
Entomologists say the beetles have been aided in their rampage by several circumstances, including drought and warmer temperatures over the past few years. The North Fork corridor has been hit especially hard — the once-green mountainsides turned rusty red as trees died, and finally, the gray of dead pines dominated miles of forest land.
Firefighters are working hard and managing the Gunbarrel to the extent that it affects structures and highways on the North Fork; otherwise, they're letting it “do its thing.” And that's just what Mother Nature intended.
The 1988 fires in Yellowstone were hard for people to stomach. Some feared that the fires burned so hot the land would never recover. But the Sunday drive along Yellowstone's highways provided a vivid and constant reminder that the places worst scorched 20 years ago are now healthy, lively forests — something not seen on the North Fork for a long time.
As forest officials continue their “let it burn” policy today, the smoke clouding the Basin may be unpleasant, but the long-term benefits of the Gunbarrel Fire, and possibly others, will be significant and welcome.
August 04, 2008 2:13 pm

Cascade Fire flares Wednesday

Fire crews are making headway on the Cascade Fire six miles west of Red Lodge, Mont., but last week the fire was rapidly gaining ground.
Monday morning, the fire was over 10,000 acres and it is 44 percent contained.
Now, the type I crew is not too worried that it will spread to the town.
Red Lodge Mountain Resort was evacuated Wednesday, but Mark Wurdeman, fire spokesman, said crews returned the next day.
Last Wednesday on an outing with Jeff Gildehaus, information officer for Custer National Forest, the fire's fury was felt.
Gildehaus drove a few media personnel up a rough switchback road above the ski area.
Gazing at the valley below is like looking through beige-tinted sunglasses as a dusty film settles over the valley.
Steve Creech, branch 1 manager, takes the spike camp's supply order while sitting on a spiny ridge painted red with fire retardant.
Meals Ready to Eat and chain saw fuel top the list.