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Tribune Staff

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.
Fleeing bear injures firefighter
Firefighters in Yellowstone are working to protect the Fishing Bridge area from the LeHardy fire while dodging grizzly bears.
The LeHardy fire spread rapidly over the weekend, growing to more than 4,000 acres on Saturday due to gusty winds and low humidity.
The fire is moving to the northeast into the back country east of the Yellowstone River and away from highway north of Fishing Bridge and the popular tourist area itself.
Firefighters worked along the southern edge of the fire creating a wider fire line to prevent the fire from threatening Fishing Bridge.
Sturcture fire specialists began setting up protection equipment in retail ane sewage treatment areas as a precaution, should the fire change direction.
Firefighters were also conducting conducting controlled burns to improve fire breaks by removing fuels
A control line has also been established on the west bank of the river near the highway between Fishing Bridge and Mud Volcano.
Urbach, Hildebrand, Kenny Smith receive honors
Two coaches and two recently graduated student-athletes from Powell High School recently were honored during the Wyoming Coaches Association's awards banquet in Casper.
Leading the way for the Panthers was Scott Smith, who was inducted into the WCA Coaches Hall of Fame. Coach Smith currently serves as head coach of the PHS boys and girls track and field squads. He also serves as a volunteer assistant coach for Cody High School's boys and girls indoor track and field teams, which also include a number of athletes from Powell.
Coach Smith, who will begin his 27th year of coaching during the 2008-09 school year, has 20 years experience as a head coach and six as an assistant. Sixteen of those years have been spent in Powell. He has coached four state championship track and field teams and was an assistant coach for the Panther football team during its state title run in 2006. He also has eight regional titles to his credit and has won numerous coach of the year awards. Coach Smith is the third PHS track and field coach to earn a spot in the WCA Hall of Fame. The others are L.A. Kohnke (1984) and Jerry Lane (1993).
“It felt really good,” Coach Smith said of being inducted into the WCA Hall of Fame. “I've been pretty fortunate. I'm the third track and field coach from Powell to get into the Hall of Fame, so that gives you an idea of how much support the teams get here in Powell. The community has been so supportive of track and field, and it was that way before I got here. Having that kind of support is nice to have, and it means a lot.
PHS standouts ready to embark on college careers
A pair of recently graduated Powell High School volleyball standouts helped the North All-Star squad to a 4-1 match win over their South counterparts in the Wyoming Coaches Association's annual all-star volleyball game in Casper.
Katie Patterson and Abby Pollart, who were among the leaders for the Lady Panthers during their Class 3A West Conference title run during the 2007-08 season, both played key roles for the victorious North All-Stars. The North opened the recent match with three straight wins of 26-25, 25-13 and 26-24 before dropping the fourth set 25-18. In the fifth game, the South All-Stars were once again overpowered and dropped a 15-12 decision to the North's group of all-stars.
“Abby and Katie both played very well,” said Cindi Smith, PHS head coach. “(The North) used a 6-2 for three games and used a 5-1 for two. I thought they did a great job adjusting to that, as did the rest of the girls. They only had three days of practice leading up to the match, but all the girls learned a lot of new things and they were able to put it all together.”
According to Smith, Pollart played well at setter and on the defensive side of the net. Patterson, who played in the middle for the North team, provided solid blocking throughout her time on the court, Smith said.
“It was good to see our girls play so well and help the North to the win,” Smith added. “Now they're getting ready to leave for college, and it'll be fun to see how well they do.”
Pollart, shortly after the conclusion of the 2007 high school volleyball season, signed on to play for Central Wyoming College in Riverton. She will be joined there by 2007 PHS graduate Courtnie Trustem, who originally signed a scholarship offer with Chadron State following the 2006-07 school year.
Patterson also will play in Region IX this fall. She signed a letter of intent to play for Casper College's volleyball program earlier this year.
“It's going to be a lot of fun to watch them play when their teams come to Powell (to face Northwest College, Smith said. “I think all three of them will do well.”
August 04, 2008 2:08 pm

Jerry Lee Brown

Dec. 15, 1950 - July 20, 2008
Former Powell resident Jerry Lee Brown died Sunday, July 20 in California at the age of 57.
Jerry's parents moved often, and his growing up years were spent in Missouri, Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona and California. His high school years were spent in Santa Maria, Calif. During summer vacations his parents sent him to Uncle Fred and Herb's ranches in Wyoming.
As a young child, he was often the guinea pig for his big brother, Melvin's pranks, and Jerry soon learned how to play a good joke himself.
He married his wife Bonnie in 1969, and they became parents of two daughters, Michelle and Monica. They raised their children in Powell and it was their home for many years. On July 11, 1981, he married his wife of 27 years, Eileen, in Powell.
Jerry's mid-life career change began in the 1980s after years of working on ranches and the oil fields of Wyoming. His dream of self-employment came in 1994 when he and his wife Eileen transformed Manni Funeral Home of Portola, Calif., inside and out. He loved Portola and considered nearby Loyalton his second home.
Jerry had many interests, but he loved his bicycle and being in the front of the pack. He always found a way to travel to Alaska and Wyoming to visit his daughters and five grandchildren.
His grandchildren remember him as fun — stealing food off people's plates, falling asleep while stuck in traffic or at the movies, putting frogs in people's shoes, and scooter races in grandpa's driveway. Another special memory is going to coffee with grandpa every morning when they came to visit.
Services were held in Portola on Saturday, July 26 with burial in Whispering Pines Cemetery. Memorials can be made in his memory to Rotary Club of Portola, Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 1121, Portola, Calif., 96122, or Christian Encounter Ministries, P.O. Box 1022, Grass Valley, Calif., 95945.
August 04, 2008 2:06 pm

Janet Lou Jones

Feb. 7, 1948 - Aug. 1, 2008
Janet Lou Jones, 60, of Powell, died Friday, Aug. 1 at Powell Valley Care Center.
She was born Feb. 7, 1948 in LaSalle, Colo., a daughter of Reuben and Esther (Ley) Stroh. She attended Powell High School and later earned her high school diploma.
She married David E. Jones on June 29, 1987, in Reno, Nev. She was an Avon sales representative, and received awards for high sales for Avon. She was affiliated with the Lutheran church, and enjoyed gardening and fostering abandoned kittens.
She was preceded in death by her parents, a niece Dorra Stroh, and a nephew, Jerad Stroh.
She is survived by her husband, a daughter Charla Fales of Los Angeles, Calif., granddaughter Sarah Mayers, brothers Lloyd (Naomi) Stroh of Cody, Gerald (Helen) Stroh of Cody, Larry (Marcia) Stroh of Casper, Rick and Klodette Stroh of Powell, and sister, Linda Johnson of Powell.
Memorial eervices will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at Hope Lutheran Church in Powell. Memorials may be sent to the Dave Jones Family at 904 Avenue E in Powell.
Thompson Funeral Home assisted the family.
August 04, 2008 2:05 pm

Henry Roemmich

Jan. 14, 1916 - Aug. 2, 2008
Henry Roemmich died Saturday, Aug. 2, at his home in Cody, after a long battle with cancer.
Henry was born Jan. 14, 1916, in Streeter, N.D., to Henry and Sophie (Metzger) Roemmich. After completing eighth grade, he left school to farm with his father and uncles.
During the Depression, he moved to Montana with a brother to work sugar beets, then on to Powell, where he met his wife, Mabel Reichel. They were married in Billings on Nov. 20, 1938. The couple had three children: Harlen, Shirley and Sandra.
Henry is survived by his wife of nearly 70 years; son, Harlen Roemmich; daughters, Shirley Roemmich and Sandy Beier; 12 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, two sisters, a brother and many nieces and nephews.
His parents, five brothers and two sister preceeded him in death.
Visitation is from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Ballard Funeral Home in Cody. Services are at 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 7, at Ballard Funeral Home. Donations in Henry's memory can be sent to Spirit Mountain Hospice, 707 Sheridan Ave., Cody, WY 82414.
August 04, 2008 2:02 pm

Two North Fork lodges evacuated

Due to the Gunbarrel Fire in the North Absaroka Wilderness, two lodges west of Cody were evacuated Friday afternoon.

A checkpoint opened at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Wapiti School, where all evacuees from Absaroka and Elephant Head lodges were temporarily housed. Evacuees may contact county emergency personnel about overnight accommodations.

The evacuation was expected to continue for at least several hours Friday

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Smoke flows over the mountian sides and over the North Fork Highway as a result of the fire in the Shoshone National Forest adding new color to the atmosphere for Tuesday's sunset.
Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

As of Wednesday afternoon, the lighting-caused Gunbarrel Fire had claimed 4,100 acres in the North Absaroka Wilderness between Goff and Gunbarrel creeks on the North Fork of the Shoshone River.
The fire is burning about three miles north of U.S. 14-16-20, approximately 40 miles west of Cody.
As of Wednesday, one helicopter and its six-person crew had been assigned to the fire, along with a 10-person crew and a management and planning team that specializes in long-duration fires, according to a U.S. Forest Service fire update.
“The top priority is public and firefighter safety. Other objectives include minimizing the chance of fire spreading near buildings along the North Fork corridor, and allowing the fire to play its natural role in the ecosystem,” said the update.
“An important responsibility of the fire-management group is to prepare well for unlikely worst-case scenarios. Today (Wednesday), two crews will continue work already well underway to make defensible space around lodges and other buildings closest to the fire. They will also install sprinklers that will remain in place until there is no reasonably possible need for them,” the update said.
Clint Dawson, zone fire manager for Shoshone National Forest in Cody, said the fire likely will continue to burn until the snow flies this fall.