Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gunbarrel fire- more information about burned lodge

More information is available from the Billings Gazette about the "lodge" that was destroyed in the fire on Sunday.
Representatives for the Shoshone National Forest confirmed Tuesday after inquiries Monday from The Gazette that the historic Sweetwater Lodge (and 6 other structures in the complex) had burned Sunday, but said aerial spotters had been unable to verify its status until later.

The defunct lodge near Sweetwater Creek and six accompanying buildings, all abandoned, were about 3 1/2 miles north of the North Fork Highway, northwest of the Wapiti Campground.

The lodge had reverted to the Forest Service after a lawsuit over access won by the prior owner.

The road leading to the lodge and its surrounding buildings had long been closed to vehicles, and the property had not been used as a guest lodge for several years.

Susan Douglas, a spokeswoman for the Shoshone National Forest, said fire managers had decided that protecting the lodge using firefighters, sprinklers and other ground-based defensive measures would have been too dangerous.
The fire has now burned 32,590 acres. Today winds are expected to push it down drainages towards the highway on the south side of the fire. Assigned to the fire are 6 twenty-person hot shot crews, 3 heavy helicopters, 3 medium helicopters, 2 light helicopters, 16 engines, and approximately 322 personnel.

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