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Pinedale Online > News > July 2007 > Horse Creek Fire Public Meeting in Pinedale

Horse Ck Fire Meeting. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Horse Ck Fire Meeting
Incident Commander Merrill Saleen gives a presentation on the Horse Creek Fire at the Pinedale Library on Sunday, July 1st.
Horse Creek Fire Public Meeting in Pinedale
Fire at 8,465 acres, 70% Contained
by Pinedale Online!
July 1, 2007

Forest Service officials held a public meeting in Pinedale Sunday, July 1, to answer any questions and concerns about the Horse Creek Fire. The wild fire began on Thursday, June 28th, in the Horse Creek drainage of the Wyoming Range, west of Daniel.

The fire quickly grew during the course of the week, ultimately reaching 8,465 acres by Sunday. Firefighters took advantage of natural features of the terrain and the wind patterns to work back burns and suppression techniques to gain control. The fire was called 70% contained by Sunday evening, July 1st. Full containment was expected by Monday, July 2nd. Firefighter crews will begin to deploy on Monday morning, and the management of the fire will transition back to local personnel on July 3rd.

Incident Commander Merrill Saleen, led the Great Basin Incident Management Team that was brought in to be in charge of the fire after it took off a week ago and quickly grew in size and presented more threats. At the height of the fire, there were over 420 fire personnel assigned to the fire. Firefighting efforts were a cooperative effort between the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and local firefighters from Sublette County volunteer fire departments. The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office provided security and manned the road block on the upper Horse Creek Road for public safety.

“We had great support from local and the rural fire departments,” Saleen said. That sentiment was echoed by Sublette County Sheriff, Bardy Bardin, “The quick response was very good. Kudos to our local fire departments.” They said the private home that had been threatened was no longer in danger.

When asked if there has been any determination made about the cause of the fire, Saleen said there is no clear cut evidence of any specific cause. The fire started right next to the Horse Creek Road, and near a dispersed camping area, however there was no evidence to trace the fire to arson, a cigarette or an escaped camp fire. Some locals mentioned there had been lightning in the area a couple of days before. The cause remains “undetermined”.

Big Piney District Ranger Greg Clark emphasized the extremely early dry conditions in the forest. He likened the conditions to shaping up to be similar to the bad fire year of 1988, if the dry conditions continue into the summer. Merrill said this fire showed “extreme” fire behavior. “With stronger winds, we could hav easily had an evacuation event,” he said.

The fire received national media attention. News crews from ABC News, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and K2 out of Casper came and shot video footage of the fire for their news reports.

The final suppression cost of the Horse Creek wildfire is estimated to be around $2.8 million.

More information and maps for this fire can be found on the web at: Horse Creek Fire - Inciweb

Horse Creek Fire Photo Galleries:

Friday, June 29 photos:
Back Burns in S Horse Creek (10 photos)

Thursday, June 28 photos:
Fire crosses from Elk Ck into S Horse Creek (7 photos)

Thursday, June 28th evening update.
Photos from Tuesday and Wednesday (30 pictures)

Monday and Tuesday, June 25 & 26:
Horse Creek Fire pictures from Monday and Tuesday, June 25 & 26 (15 photos)

Saturday, June 23:
Horse Creek Fire Photo Gallery - June 23rd (38 photos)

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