A day of fire passes with no new problems
By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: September 15, 2012
The Horsethief Canyon wildfire was slightly more active Friday than earlier in the week, but firefighters made progress toward controlling the blaze.
Hot, dry weather caused a mild flare-up in the northeast corner of the 3,343-acre burn, but there were “no significant runs and no areas of significant concern,” said spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles after an evening briefing. The activity mostly consisted of torching trees, she said.
Crews again called in a large fixed-wing air tanker to assist after one of the large helicopters dedicated to the operation was grounded part of the day, she said.
Officials now estimate the fire to be 41 percent contained.
With crews turning their focus to strengthening the southwest lines, teams of firefighters were stationed in the Game Creek subdivision Friday to perform structural assessments and be ready in case they were needed. The Game Creek area presents challenges in case of an evacuation that east Jackson did not, said Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen.
Some residents in Game Creek have livestock, and the houses are more spread out and isolated.
Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Chief Willy Watsabaugh said Monday there are trigger points for issuing an evacuation advisory and an evacuation order if the fire reaches Game Creek.
“We’re mostly here in case we’re needed,” said Fremont County firefighter Dan Oakley. “We’re keeping an eye on things and being ready for any surprises.”
Oakley spent part of Friday afternoon in Game Creek with fellow firefighters David Peevey and Arlis Perry. Earlier in the week, the trio was stationed along the western flank of the fire, helping prepare for the burnout operation that took place Wednesday evening.
Residents of Game Creek showed their appreciation for the effort on a message board set up near the Game Creek trailhead.
A fire information board included a paper filled with messages of support for firefighters, and sported a large thank-you sign visible to passing fire trucks.
“Thank you for keeping us safe,” read one message.
“You are true blue heroes,” read another.
At Monday night’s pubic meeting, fire officials asked that anyone hoping to express their thanks in a more tangible manner do so by donating to the nonprofits involved in the control efforts.
Fire spokeswoman Jesse Bender mentioned that Jackson Hole Fire/EMS needs to replace one of its engines, Brush 18, that was lost when it burned during early firefighting efforts Saturday night.
Watsabaugh said donations to Fire/EMS should go through the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole.