Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Gunbarrel fire update, Aug. 5

UPDATE @ 9:10 P.M. Aug. 5

Pushed by an east wind, the fire was very active today. It is now about 6 miles from the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Here is an update from the Team at 7:30 p.m. today.
Pushed by east winds, the western flank of the Gunbarrel Fire pushed into the Libby Creek drainage this afternoon and is moving toward Mormon Creek. Due to the active fire behavior, the Goff and Elephant Head lodges were evacuated by the Park County Sheriff’s Office, and the Crossed Sabers Lodge evacuated voluntarily. According to Dick Spiess, an Operations Director for the Rocky Mountain Management Team, “We conducted a planned evacuation based on preset management points.”

A recreational residence east of the Eagle Creek Campground was also evacuated, and the Eagle Creek Campground is under a precautionary evacuation alert. Structure protection specialists are evaluating buildings to the south and east of the fire.

Earlier in the fire, firelines were constructed around the lodge buildings and sprinkler system systems installed as precautionary measures. Today, fire officials utilized heavy helicopters to slow the advance of the fire.

The map below was updated sometime today... it's difficult to determine the exact time.

9:54 a.m. Aug. 5
The Gunbarrel fire 40 miles west of Cody, Wyoming (31,050 acres) issued an update this morning:
Management efforts yesterday concentrated on structural protection of the Standing Star Ranch,Goff Creek Lodge and the Crossed Sabres Ranch. Hot shot crews constructed fireline around the buildings while sprinkler systems were set in place. Burnout operations occurred along the highway and may continue today if favorable weather conditions persist. Heavy smoke across the road did result in traffic delays of up to an hour but the North Fork Highway remains open to public travel.

Today resources will work on extinguishing any remaining fire around structures and adjacent to the highway while patrols insure that the fire stays on the north side of the highway. Red Flag weather conditions are forecast and the firefighters are still anticipating a frontal passage that will affect wind direction.

The Sweetwater Lodge, consisting of the lodge and six other buildings was consumed by the fire on Sunday night. The lodge, which was owned by the Forest Service and uninhabited, had not been in operation for many years. Fire management officer Mark Giacoletto said extreme fire behavior Sunday evening pushed the fire 4.5 miles in 3 hours.
Two incident management teams are assigned to the fire. Rocky Mountain Geographic Area Type 2 Team A with Incident Commander Don Angell, and Bill Hanenberg's Fire Use Management Team.

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