Casper Mountain Fire: Tuesday updates

2012-09-11T17:00:00Z 2012-10-05T22:44:55Z Casper Mountain Fire: Tuesday updatesBy MEGAN CASSIDY, LEAH TODD, KYLE ROERINK and DAVID MAYBERRY Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

6:45 p.m. Tuesday Sheepherder fire is now 10 percent contained, said Susan Ford, public information officer for the Type Two Incident Management Team.

No further evacuations were executed on Tuesday, and the 15,000 acreage reported in the morning remains the same.

4:35 p.m. Tuesday A portion of the fire is burning on the north side of Casper Mountain, reports photographer Alan Rogers. The flames seem to be situated about halfway up the slope, more or less south of the country club, he said.

Jason Parks of Casper Fire-EMS said the northern spread is to be expected.

"It's all part of the process," he said, noting that there has not been significant movement throughout Tuesday.

4:30 p.m. Tuesday Aerial assets fighting the fire and based at the Casper/Natrona County International Airport are a DC-10, a BAe-146 four-engine jet, seven helicopters including two Wyoming National Guard UH-60 Blackhawks, four single-engine air tankers similar to crop-dusters and two twin-engine guide planes. All were active this afternoon.

3:30 p.m. Tuesday The DC-10 just took off, said spokesman Larry Helmerick of the Incident Management Team. The aircraft will transport a nearly 12,000-gallon tank of water and fire retardant blend to and from Casper Mountain in attempts to slow the blaze.

Click here for more information on the DC-10.

2:50 p.m. Tuesday The Wyoming Department of Insurance released a statement reminding customers to educate themselves on their insurance policy, should wildfire damage or an evacuation occur.

"If time permits, take important insurance documents including insurance cards and policies as well as inventory lists with photographs and videos," the release states.

You should also contact your insurance company to let them know you have been displaced.

Links to consider: Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Wyoming Department of Insurance.

2:25 p.m. Tuesday After its daily weather briefing, the National Weather Service based in Riverton said chances of rain for Casper Mountain are low today, though not nonexistent.

"There's a small possibility that the wildfire could see some sprinkles tonight," said NWS meteorologist Katy Branham.

And it's not impossible, Branham said, that thunderstorms currently moving into southern Wyoming could travel far enough north to reach Casper Mountain, but chances of thunderstorm activity are low.

The NWS expects today to be the last opportunity for precipitation until Sunday. A cold front is expected to move in this evening and is likely to shift the typically southwest winds on Casper Mountain to a northeast direction. The impact of this wind shift on the movement of the fire is unclear, but it is not likely to have a significant impact because of the relatively low wind speeds.

No major winds are expected on Casper Mountain for the rest of the week, according to the NWS, which expects gusts to reach up to 15 to 20 mph.

"The next chance we're seeing for drier and windier conditions is Friday," Branham said. "And that's the next period of time we're evaluating carefully."

2:10 p.m. Tuesday Susan Ford, public information officer for the Rocky Mountain Type Two Incident Management Team, said there is a crew investigating the portion of the fire moving south toward Muddy Mountain, looking for the best stretch to create a line. Steep or forested areas are not ideal.

Ford said today's main priority is securing the structures in the northwest corner.

1:50 p.m. Tuesday Clouds are deceiving, said Jason Parks of Casper Fire-EMS. The fire is still growing -- albeit not as rapidly as Monday -- and working its way toward Muddy Mountain.

Parks confirmed that there are ranches in the area, but at this time no further evacuations are being ordered.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday FEMA responded to the state's request for assistance Sunday night by issuing a Fire Management Assistance Grant that will cover up to 75 percent of the state's costs in fighting the Sheep Herder Hill fire. The state will kick in the remaining 25 percent of the total firefighting costs once the fire is put out, with no limit on the amount it can receive from FEMA.

The federal funding will cover the costs of mobilizing and demobilizing firefighting resources, regular and overtime labor, and operations and management of firefighting equipment.

Fire Management Assistance Grants do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners, nor do they cover infrastructure damage caused by the fire.

12:40 p.m. Tuesday The American Red Cross announced that shelter is now open to all evacuees at the Army National Guard Armory. There are supplies for 200 people, including cots, food, water mental health services, nurses and translators.

12:10 p.m. Tuesday Colorado Fire Maps has also published a map of the Sheep Herder Hill Fire. Last update was at 7:45 a.m., but greater ease of zooming and viewing street names.

InciWeb also updated its map with the fire's boundaries.

11:50 a.m. Tuesday The Natrona County website has released a downloadable map that outlines the perimeters of the fire. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note from NC IT department: This map is in high demand, so be patient with the download. 

10:50 a.m. Tuesday According to a recent Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team news release, there will be a public meeting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at the Casper City Council Chambers, located at 200 N. David St.

There remains 150 people on mandatory evacuation and 750 people on advisory alert. The number of structures threatened remains the same as was reported Monday as well: 750 structures, three commercial properties and 100 outbuildings.

The release states that the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team B assumed management of the fire at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

There are currently 229 people assigned to the incident with more personnel arriving.

A release from state officials reiterated prior reports that at least seven structures have been destroyed in the fire and another 10-15 have been damaged.

10:35 a.m. Tuesday Jason Parks of Casper Fire-EMS said the winds did not shift too excessively last night, as was previously predicted.

Parks said there is a chance the fire could be headed south toward Muddy Mountain today.

9:45 a.m. Tuesday Natrona County Emergency Management officials reported that no more donations of snacks or drinks are needed at Fire Station 3. Monetary donations can still be directed to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army.

Related, officials say they currently have enough volunteers and no more are needed at this time.

9:15 a.m. Tuesday The fire has now spread to 15,284 acres, said Susan Ford, public information officer for the Type Two Incident Management Team.

Firefighters are concentrating their efforts on the northwest corner, and are assembling a structure protection group for local residences and businesses.

Ford said a damage assessment team will attempt to identify properties damaged in the past few days. Local officials will then contact the owners directly.

Shelter update: Officials have decided the shelter will be available at the Casper Army National Guard Armory sometime on Tuesday, not at the Casper Recreation Center, as they earlier communicated.


Check back for more updates on this ongoing story.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. Gale
    Report Abuse
    Gale - September 11, 2012 1:50 pm
    I thought we hated the Feds and didn't want anything to do with them. Get out and give us more money is out battle cry.
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