More wild land fires reported near Rainbow Family Gathering
by Bureau of Land Management
July 14, 2008
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today that two fires were reported on Friday, July 11, on public lands near the Rainbow Family Gathering in the southern Wind River Range.
The Gathering VII Fire was reported to Teton Dispatch at about 4:34 pm. The fire was located north of Dutch Joe Creek near the Rainbow Gathering. Initial attack was conducted by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), estimated at 1/10th of one acre in size.
The fire was turned over to BLM on Friday evening when it was determined that the fire was located on BLM-administered public lands. While responding to the Gathering VII Fire, USFS and BLM personnel discovered an extinguished fire, known as the Gathering VIII Fire, on BLM-administered public lands. The Gathering VIII fire was estimated at 1/10th of one acre in size.
Resources assigned to the Gathering VII included a 20-person Type 1 crew (Snake River Hotshots) and a BLM Engine. No permanent structures are threatened, and there have been no injuries reported. The Gathering VII fire was contained a 6:09 pm. BLM and USFS crews will continue mop-up operations until the fire is out.
This brings a total of nine wild land fires near the Rainbow Family Gathering since June 23. Six of these fires were on USFS lands and three on BLM lands.
Wild land fire investigations determined the fires to be human-caused. The Gathering VII and VIII Fires were near the Gathering II Fire, also located on BLM-administered public lands. A reward may be offered for information leading to the conviction of any person for setting the fires. Anyone having information regarding these fires should call 888-358-2310.
Editor’s Note: According to BLM Deputy Incident Commander Fred Hurlock, three of the nine Gathering fires were on BLM land (Gathering 2, 7 & 8). Of those three, one was determined to be arson and the other two were "human-caused" (which could be a campfire that wasn’t completely put out or a cigarette that wasn’t completely extinguished - but not intentionally caused). For clarification, the above release says a reward may be offered for information to catch the person setting the "fires". Only one fire on BLM land was determined to be arson. Anyone found to have accidentally started a fire due to a campfire that was not completely put out, or not putting out a cigarette, can still be held legally responsible for the fire and be held financially responsible for the suppression costs of putting out a wildfire caused by their carelessness. All of the fires on BLM land are contained. According to Bridger-Teton National Forest Public Information Officer Mary Cernicek, one of the six fires on National Forest land was determined to be human-caused (cigarette) and the other five are still under investigation. The Incident Management Team for the Rainbow Gathering disbanded on Sunday, July 13, and control of management of the area has been turned back to local law enforcement and federal land management offices (Pinedale Ranger District, Rock Springs BLM and Sublette County Sheriff’s Office). According to BLM Public Information Officer Roger Alexander, there were approximately 200 people are left at the Rainbow camp site as of last weekend, some still doing clean-up and others just enjoying the area and continuing their camping stays.