More evac at fire near Dubois in hot, windy conditions

Jul 24, 2016 From staff reports

Changing winds and continued hot weather worsened conditions Saturday at the site of the Lava Mountain Fire in the Wind River Mountains near Dubois.

At 3:50 p.m. Saturday, evacuation alerts were elevated to the "set" stage for the Hat Butte, Union Pass, Warm Springs and Porcupine subdivisions.

The designation means that residents are required to be "set" to evacuate at a moment's notice, meaning all necessary packing, notifications and securing of property has been completed pending an evacuation order.

Television and radio broadcasts in Fremont County were interrupted at 3:53 p.m. to announce the updated situation.

Saturday's designation follows evacuations Friday in other areas. Under the joint jurisdiction of the US Forest Service, Fremont County Fire Protection District, and the Dubois Volunteer Fire Department, the Teton Valley Ranch Camp was evacuated under fire-plan designation "go." Also Friday, residences from Timberline Ranch to the Long Creek Subdivision were place Friday in evac stage "go," meaning they are evacuated. All other residences from Triangle C Ranch to the Roaring Creek Subdivision and Big Diamond Ranch remained in state "set."

Saturday brought continued brisk winds with gusts up to 20 mph in the fire area, which contributed to active fire spread and growth. Witnesses reported smoke and flames close to prominent Dubois-area properties northwest of town.

An air ambulance was dispatched Saturday afternoon to transport an injured firefighter. Scanner traffic described a female firefighter with a leg injury. Another ambulance call came in for a woman in the Crowheart area experienced breathing problems, apparently due to the thick smoke from the fire.

The strong winds blew smoke from the fire across Highway 26 for a few hours Friday. With reduced visibility for driving and the need to ensure public and firefighter safety the Wyoming Highway Department, Sheriff's Department, and Wyoming State Patrol implemented a "pilot car" system to safely escort vehicles in both directions through the smoke. When the winds shifted and the smoke cleared from the highway regular traffic resumed. Firefighters continued structure protection efforts and responded to put out spot fires.

Total acreage on the week-old fire was calculated at 2,304 acres Saturday morning with significant spread through the day. Multi-agency fire response has resulted in 425 firefighting personnel on the scene in 10 crews. Equipment at the fire includes 26 engines, a bulldozer, six helicopters and two single-engine air tankers.

Up-to-date fire information is available at 307-455-4038. Officials remind residents that there is no need to wait for an evacuation order. "If you feel concerned or threatened by fire activity, leave the area. Do not wait for someone to tell you; leave when you feel you need to," an official statement reads.

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