Jul 5, 2013 The Associated Press

Lightning sparks Black Hills fires

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- Fourth of July lightning storms sparked three small wildfires in the Black Hills National Forest in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming.

The Great Plains Fire Information office says two of the fires were less than one-tenth of an acre in size and were quickly contained. The third grew to about 3 1/2 acres -- less than a square mile.

Crews were completing fire line construction late Thursday on that blaze, dubbed the Horse Trap Fire.

Oil transfer station being built

CASPER -- Energy and transportation companies are having to come up with new ways to move all the oil being produced in Converse County.

The latest project is a new a transfer station being built near Douglas. Gazelle Transportation says an estimated 4,000 barrels of crude oil will be delivered there each day and then put into a Sinclair pipeline.

Two other oil transportation projects have been proposed in the county along with two more outside of it.

Gazelle Transportation general manager Bob Howard briefed county commissioners about its proposal on Tuesday. He said truckers are already hauling crude from the area's pump jacks to pipeline terminals throughout Wyoming but the proposed delivery station would shorten their trips.

Crews plan tree removal work

SARATOGA -- Crews plan to work to remove hazardous trees along French Creek Road in the Snowy Range, forcing temporary road closures starting next week.

The work will start Monday, July 8. Crews plan to work on the road in three segments.

The first length to be closed is between Forest Road 206 and Forest Road 224. The second length to be closed will run from Forest Road 225 to Forest Road 210. The final stretch to be closed from Forest Road 210 and 500.

The work will start at 7 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. each day. The logging operation is expected to be completed by late summer. The road will be open on weekends.

Meetings planned on power line

DENVER -- Federal officials plan 13 meetings for people to comment on TransWest Express LLC's proposal to build a transmission line to carry Wyoming wind power to California, Arizona and Nevada.

Last week federal officials posted a draft environmental impact statement identifying possible routes for the line, along with potential impacts to various resources.

Federal officials said Wednesday the public can learn more on the document at meetings Aug. 14- Sept. 6 in various cities in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

TransWest has proposed running the line from near Sinclair through Colorado and Utah to an area near Boulder City, Nev. Federal officials say a somewhat different route will minimize impacts to greater sage grouse and roadless areas.

TransWest is part of The Anschutz Corp. based in Denver.

Logging plans discussed

JACKSON -- Conservation groups are expressing concern about a proposed 74,000-acre logging and restoration project in the southern Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming.

The U.S. Forest Service is wrapping up public comment on the Hams Fork Vegetation Project in Lincoln County, about 65 miles south of Jackson. It would include timber salvage, clear-cuts, commercial thinning and four miles of new road.

The area is 80 percent forested and has been ravaged by mountain pine beetles.

The Wyoming Wilderness Association and Western Watersheds are worried about potential intrusion into roadless areas.

If the plan is approved the project could begin work this summer.

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