Strong gusts of
wind felled a pine tree Sunday afternoon,
knocking down power lines to the ground
and starting a wildfire with sparks from
the live line.
Monday, Lower Valley Energy’s
Brian Tanabe confirmed the cause of the
fire and resulting power outages. Sunday,
firefighters actively worked with
chainsaws to clear timber from around
the downed wires. Power went out from
Camp Creek Inn into Hoback Basin and
the Upper Green.
The fire, fueled by winds, light timber,
grass and sagebrush, is reported at about
25 acres, across the Hoback River from
the intersection of Cliff Creek Road and
Highway 191. It was reported around 1:45
p.m. by motorists, some of whom stopped
to try and put out the fire by filling plastic
buckets from the river, according to Sublette
County Forest Service Deputy Wes
Other observers said the blaze originated
at the power pole across the river at
the base of the mountains and the engines
on hand could not ford it.
Johnston said the flames moved directly
up a draw with an old fire scar from
the 2016 Cliff Creek Fire and put itself
out when gusty winds changed direction.
However, embers from burning trees at
the bottom of the next gully blew uphill
and torched more pines.
The Forest Service responded with a
fire tanker and firefighters crossed the
river on foot, hiking up the steep gully
to wield their pickaxes. A helicopter was
grounded for a time at the Hoback Guard
Station and unable to fill and drop water
due to high winds in the canyon.
Sublette County firefighters responded
and stationed their engines near Black
Power came back on early Monday
morning, according to Bondurant residents
told that Lower Valley Energy
crews were waiting for a replacement
“Power has been restored to all affected
by the outage,” said Teton Interagency
Winds gusted to well over 30 miles an
hour Sunday and changed directions in
the Cliff Creek and Hoback drainages, according
to people in the immediate area
just before the fire started.
On Sunday, the Forest Service brought
in a five-person helitack crew, two Forest
Service engines and five Sublette County
engines were on hand as well as three
hand-crews. Monday, that increased to
about 35 personnel with two more engines
and county and Forest Service managers.
A 20-person Teton Interagency hotshot
crew was expected to arrive later on Monday,
according to the agency.
Monday brought a change in weather
with some precipitation and cool temperatures
predicted. Firefighters were still
working on the Shoal Creek Fire at press
The Bridger-Teton National Forest
has implemented Stage 1 Fire Restrictions.
These restrictions allow fires only
in developed campgrounds and picnic
areas in approved structures along with
the Teton and Gros Ventre wildernesses.
Please note that fires are prohibited in
the Bridger Wilderness and all dispersed
campsites under this order.
Even with rain in the forecast it is
important to remain vigilant. Months of
dry, windy conditions have cured forest
vegetation, allowing fires to start easily
and spread rapidly. Check the Teton Interagency
Fire website at www.tetonfires.
com for the latest information about fire
restrictions. If you camp where fires are
allowed and you choose to have one, ensure
your fire is “dead out” before leaving
the site. This means cold to the touch – “If
it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.”
To report a wildfire, call 911, Sublette
County dispatch 307-367-4378 or Teton
Interagency Dispatch Center 307-739-3630.