Tuesday notes

Jul 23, 2013 By Steven R. Peck

Sinks Canyon fire

A frank reminder of an rare unpleasant side of life in the West is being provided in close-up detail again this week via the wildfire in the Sinks Canyon area. It is in a highly visible place and can be witnessed first-hand by thousands of people in a way that last year's remote Alpine Lake Fire could not -- even though that fire was many times larger than this new one.

We join everyone if Fremont County in wishing the firefighters in Sinks Canyon a safe and successful mission -- and in extending whole-hearted thanks for their work.

A long-standing worry among land managers, landowners and recreational users of the Shoshone National Forest is "the big one" -- a fire in the southern Wind River range that takes the whole mountainside. That's one reason this fire is being jumped on, hard and fast.

There won't be a "let it burn" management policy here. The strategy so far seems to be "let's get this one contained and controlled as soon as possible" -- and you're not likely hear one peep of disagreement from anyone.

Jumbo jet

Without meaning to minimize the very real life, property and ecological concerns raised by the fire, it also has a bit of "gee whiz" to it with the arrival of the huge jumbo jet firefighting tanker plane. It arrived Monday night for a couple of spectacular passes over the fire area. It's by far the largest firefighting plane the sky and can dump more than 11,000 gallons of firefighting chemical in one pass.

Once upon a time it was a DC-10 jetliner, the second-largest plane in the sky after the the comparably sized Boeing 747 (both since surpassed by the Airbus A380).

As these words are being written, logistics of the huge aircraft's further deployment over Sinks Canyon were still being evaluated. It might not return at all, but if it did, and if it were to land at Riverton Regional airport, that would be a sight to see. And, yes , Riverton Regional can handle a jumbo jet landing, although the plane might not land in the area at all (it can fly thousands of miles between fueling).

Eyes in the sky

One more note about the fire and firefighting on the mountain. Newspaper staffers have shot lots of photographs of various elements of the incident, but several "civilians," as we good-naturedly call non-newspaper people, have offered pictures of the scene as well. In fact, the front-page shot of the DC-10 in today's edition was supplied to us by Eric Baker, who agreed to let us use it after talking with staff writer Craig Blumenshine.

We can't be everywhere at once, and it is a great service to both the newspaper and the community when public-minded readers step forward to offer assistance. Thanks to all who have helped with our fire coverage -- and please keeping doing it.

Fremont County Fair

A summertime tradition is renewed for the 100th time this year with the centennial of the Fremont County Fair. Accompanying it, as usual, is our Fremont County Fair Preview Edition, which came off the press Tuesday morning and will be included Wednesday in The Ranger and Lander Journal, Thursday in the Wind River News, and even in some copies of the Advertiser a few days from now.

There also will be copies of our edition at the county fair office and stacked around the area in numerous places.

We plan our usual wire-to-wire coverage of the fair again this year, with daily feature stories, notebook-style tidbits, photographs and results.

Also, because this is the 100th Fremont County Fair, we plan to included some old pictures and other reminiscences during out nearly two full weeks of fair coverage coming up.

See you at the fair.

Three perfect mornings

After three days of grounded balloons at last year's Riverton Rendezvous hot-air balloon rally, in 2012, this year's rally bounced back with three flawless days of flying weather -- each producing a different, spectacular pattern of flight -- one day west toward the airport and country club areas, one with an almost windless morning that saw many of the 25 balloons land right on the launch field or very close to it, and a gorgeous, slow drift to the southeast on day three.

The other Rendezvous events that don't depend on calm winds came off well. For once, the Friday Night Cruise wasn't the hottest evening of the year -- maybe just the fifth- or six-hottest. But it made a nice difference. And that was one heck of a fireworks show Saturday night.

Riverton Rendezvous still "brings it," even after 33 years.

It's a prince

Well, what do you know? The British royal baby was a boy, not the pre-announced girl. Even the royal ultrasound can be mistaken, apparently. Now in Britain, where everything but sunrise and sunset is subject to wagering, the betting is on what the future king will be named.

We'll go out an limb and say that not one of the men in our office will be the namesake of the new prince. Don't bet on Prince Steve, Prince Wayne, Prince Bruce, Prince Brian, Prince Craig, Prince Nick, Prince Kim, Prince Mike, Prince Sean or Prince Eric. And while we're betting, let's also eliminate Prince LeBron, Prince Barack, Prince Mitt, Prince Justin or Prince Psy.

God save the king, and here's to a good week.

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