Red Flag Warning in effect for the Bighorn Basin

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Continued hot, dry and windy in the region which has resulted in a Red Flag Warning being issued by the National Weather Service Forecast Office at Riverton Regional Airport this afternoon and Monday.

Hot and very dry air will stick around today with increasingly gusty west to southwest winds this afternoon, moved the warning forward a couple of hours to account for the lagging wind gusts. The best chance for strong wind will be in northwest Wyoming this afternoon and near any Virga showers or high based storms late this afternoon as some meager mid level moisture moves in. It will be unstable across the state this afternoon with a Haines of 6 along and east of the divide, adding to the fire danger even in areas with winds below 20 mph.

Gov. Mead makes 3 Cabinet appointments

Cheyenne, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead announced today that John Cox will be the Director of the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), Bill Panos will be the Interim Director of the Department of Transportation (WYDOT), and Del McOmie will be the Director of the School Facilities Department (SFD).  The DWS and SFD appointments are subject to Senate confirmation. The appointment of a permanent director for WYDOT will be made out of a slate of candidates provided by the Transportation Commission and subsequent Senate approval.

Powell resident Joel Johnson: Seat belt survivor

Joel Johnson of Powell is a seat belt survivor.

Johnson climbed in his work pickup on June 8 to drive to work. It was a normal late-spring morning in Powell with plenty of sun and blue sky. He buckled his seat belt. He was two miles from his home driving 65 mph north of Powell on Wyoming 295. Then it happened. Another driver was distracted and drove through a stop sign at a high rate of speed and struck Johnson’s work pickup.

Johnson is alive today because of his decision to wear his seat belt.

Wyoming Pathways proposes statewide initiative

Wyoming Pathways Executive Director, Tim Young, appeared before the Wyoming Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Committee in Kemmerer on Monday, August 10th, 2015. The Committee is beginning work on a Bicycle Tourism and Recreation Interim Study topic, and invited Wyoming Pathways to testify. The full statement is here.

Young updated the Committee with the growing list of communities around Wyoming actively involved in building and maintaining pathways systems and walkable main streets, as well as the growing list of recreational mountain bike and hiking trail projects underway around the state.

UW Foundation sells ranch near Cheyenne

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – The University of Wyoming Foundation and Colorado State University Research Foundation have completed the sale of the Y Cross Ranch, setting the stage for significant long-term funding of scholarships and internships for agriculture students.

The ranch, located between Cheyenne and Laramie, was donated to the two universities in 1997 by the Courtenay C. Davis Foundation and the late Amy Davis. Sale proceeds will be divided evenly between the two foundations and directed to endowments dedicated to uses consistent with the 1997 gift agreement. Those include scholarships and internships to study agriculture and closely related fields such as natural resources, animal science and veterinary medicine.

Sheep Creek Fire sees some growth, now at 10% containment

Warmer, drier weather yesterday afternoon resulted in some growth on the Sheep Creek Fire. The fire area grew by 40-100 acres to a total size of approximately 1050 acres.

The Sheep Creek Fire, which is now 10 percent contained, remains burning in the Tongue River Canyon west of Dayton, Wyo. Fire crews will reinforce and finalize fireline while connecting it to natural features such as rock outcroppings in the canyon.

“The firefighters are doing an amazing job out there, especially considering the rough terrain in which they are located,” said Incident Commander Dick Terry. “The incident team is doing an excellent job at keeping this fire relatively small while keeping costs low.”

Sheep Creek Fire didn’t grow overnight; Lots of campers still need to be moved

Overnight the Sheep Creek Fire in the Tongue River Canyon of the Bighorn Mountains didn’t grow much, Shoshone National Forest Spokeswoman Kristie Salzmann said. She said the fire pretty stayed within the already existing boundaries of the fire.

Part of the 110-person crew working the fire was able to get a better ariel view of the fire, Salzmann said, and the overall size of the fire was determined to be less than originally estimated. At last count, the fire was just under 1,000 acres in size.

BREAKING: Montana teen drowns in Clark’s Fork River

A Montana teen drowned while recreating on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River in the Crandall area on Saturday, August 1, 2015.  Jonah Anspach, age 13 of Jefferson City, Montana was floating on the river with family and friends when he overturned and disappeared. The 911 call came into the Park County Communications Center at 6:52 p.m. on Saturday evening from a passerby near milepost 3 on Highway 296. Park County Search and Rescue (SAR) were immediately dispatched to the scene.

Outdoor Channel show to feature Wyoming whitetail deer

Outdoor Channel’s hunting-oriented show Headhunters TV will feature Wyoming whitetail deer adventures this week. This is the first time in the last two years that Headhunters have highlighted Wyoming hunting.

The episode was filmed in the northeast corner of the state near Devil’s Tower on Solitude Ranch. Headhunting Wyoming Whitetail airs tomorrow night at 7 p.m. ET and will rerun a couple time later in the week. Check out a preview here.


Mead finishes review of federal land plans, looks for consistency in sage-grouse protections

Governor Matt Mead submitted his comments, through the Governor’s consistency review, concerning land use revisions proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The BLM and USFS land use plans undergoing amendments or revisions cover most federal lands in the state and are expected to guide management on those lands for 20 or more years.  These plans include the Wyoming Greater Sage-Grouse Amendment (commonly referred to as “the 9 Plan”), Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Amendment, and Bighorn Basin and Buffalo Resource Management Plan Revisions.

Statewide effort to enhance cardiac emergency response beginning

The Wyoming Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services is leading a statewide effort to enhance and modernize Wyoming’s ability to respond to cardiac emergencies.

The Wyoming Compression Devices and Evaluation (WYCODE) project will ensure automated chest compression devices are available for every ambulance service, hospital emergency room and cardiac catheterization lab across the state.

“When cardiac arrest occurs, the heart stops abruptly, the victim collapses and quickly loses consciousness,” said Andy Gienapp, OEMS manager with the Wyoming Department of Health. “If a normal heart rhythm is not restored within minutes, the person usually dies.”

More details emerge in yesterday’s Montana double homicide

Q2TV in Billings is reporting that an 18-year-old Worland, Wyo., man shot and killed a Pryor couple who had stopped along a road to help him.

Jason Shane, 52, and Tana Shane were both shot and killed shortly after 10 a.m. yesterday along Pryor Gap Road in Big Horn County, Mont. Family members tell Q2Tv that the couple had stopped to help Jesus Deniz Mendoza, who appeared to be stranded along the road.

Study: Wildlife warning reflectors and white canvas bags reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions in NW Wyoming

Wildlife warning reflectors and canvas bags have proven effective in reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions during a three-year study in three Wyoming counties.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation and Conservation Research Center of Teton Science Schools conducted a three-year study, which concluded this spring, to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife warning reflectors on wildlife-vehicle collisions in Big Horn, Hot Springs and Fremont counties. WYDOT installed these reflectors in 2007-2010 in several of the worst hot spots of deer-vehicle collisions in the state.

The area north of Thermopolis includes the worst single mile in Wyoming for deer-vehicle collisions, with an average of 18 per year for the last six years.

Bear conflicts high in the last month; G&F monitoring bears that tried to get into a car

Wyoming Game & Fish’s Large Carnivore Section has been busy with conflict resolution, the department reported in the Lander Region’s most recent newsletter.

“Over the past month, Section personnel verified a minimum of 19 depredations of livestock, (this doesn’t include one rather busy night in which a grizzly bear killed 50 chickens) and multiple instances of bears attempting to gain food through garbage,” the department reported. “These conflicts resulted in 6 captures (3 grizzly bears, 3 black bears).”

Study ranks Wyoming among the least healthy states for children

In a recent study of child well-being, Wyoming came in a little better than middle of the pack when compared to the rest of the states. However, Wyoming was ranked poorly when it came to the health portion of the study.

Using data in four different areas (economic well-being, education, health, and family and community), the Kids County Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked Wyoming 16th overall when compared to the rest of the country.

NPS seasonal worker missing after swimming in Yellowstone River

A search is underway in Yellowstone National Park for Feiyang “Isaac” Xiang, a 21-year old man from China. Xiang is a seasonal concessionaire employee in the park and was backpacking with four friends on Thursday, July 23 when he disappeared while swimming in the Yellowstone River near its confluence with Hellroaring Creek in the northern section of the park.

Park County’s workforce has grown by 1500 in the last month

(Casper, Wyo.) – The Research & Planning section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reports that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from May to June at 4.1%. Wyoming’s unemployment rate was slightly lower than its June 2014 level of 4.4% and significantly lower than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 5.3%. Seasonally adjusted employment of Wyoming residents increased slightly, rising by an estimated 955 individuals (0.3%) from May to June. This level of over-the-month employment growth is a normal change.

ICYMI: Country legend plays impromptu set at CFD

Country music staple and cowboy poet Michael Martin Murphey was in attendance today at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Calling CFD “the greatest event in America,” Murphey played a short set of songs on the porch of the public relations building this afternoon. The unplanned performance drew a crowd of about 40.

He started off with his most famous hit, “Wildfire.” From there he played a few other songs in tribute to veterans and the cowboy lifestyle.

Check out a brief clip of “Wildfire” at Shortgo’s Facebook page.


Water storage, wildfire effects and more to be studied with Cheyenne supercomputer

Four projects that have applications to Wyoming issues — including wind farm efficiency, aerosol impacts from wildfires, and water storage — recently were chosen to receive computational time and storage space on the supercomputer in Cheyenne.

University of Wyoming faculty members will head projects that will use the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC).

Since the supercomputer, nicknamed Yellowstone, came online during October 2012, allocations have been made to 35 UW research projects, including these latest four, which commenced July 15.

Multiple tularemia cases raises statewide concern

Recent reports of tularemia activity among animals and humans in northern Wyoming are raising concerns this summer about the disease, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).

“Recently, we are hearing about rabbit die-offs and have seen tularemia cases confirmed in two Weston County residents, in dead voles near Devils Tower in Crook County and in a Washakie County cat,” said Dr. Tracy Murphy, state epidemiologist with WDH. “Tularemia is always a concern but is not common. To see this activity is concerning.”