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July 14, 2008 2:07 pm

Simpson ranch fire claims cabins

Written by Tribune Staff

A fire on Sunday claimed three buildings and nearly 54 acres of cottonwood trees on the Bobcat Ranch, owned by retired Sen. Al Simpson, R-Wyo., and his family.
The fire, which became a forest fire, was still burning on Monday.
The Bobcat Ranch is about 25 miles southwest of Cody on the South Fork of the Shoshone River.
“We believe it started outside one of the cabins in a wood pile,” said Sam Wilde, Park County Fire Protection District No. 2 district training officer fire prevention.
However, the exact cause is still under investigation, Wilde said.
One cabin and two outbuildings were lost, Wilde said.
The Cody Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched around 2:30 p.m., and the Powell Volunteer Fire Department was called for assistance at about 3 p.m.
A Powell pumper truck and brush truck arrived at the Bobcat Ranch, said Powell Fire Chief Joey Darrah.
Darrah said the pumper truck fought the structure fires and the brush truck was posted across the river to fight burning cottonwood trees after the fire jumped the river.
Powell fire crews did not return to Powell until 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
Crews from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service were at the fire Sunday. Wilde said he was expecting crews from the Forest Service Monday, and one 21-person inmate crew from the Wyoming State Forestry Division was on the scene Monday, with another crew on the way.
Initially on Sunday, Darrah's crew was dispatched to fight a 2-acre blaze along the Cody Canal off Wyo. 291 (South Fork Road) southwest of Cody. When that fire was extinguished, the department proceeded to Bobcat Ranch.
The Cody Fire Department guarded the fire overnight, said Darrah.
“We're not calling it contained,” Wilde said.
Wilde said Monday morning was relatively cool, and firefighters were working the edges to keep the fire from spreading. Wilde said today's (Tuesday's) forecast calls for warm temperatures and high winds.
In the midst of burning cabins and trees, Simpson's wife, Ann, was worried more about the welfare of the firefighters than the destruction of her property, Darrah said.
“She was very gracious,” Darrah said.