Wyoming news briefs for August 11


Fire in Bighorn Forest top 1,200 acres

SHERIDAN — Crater Ridge Fire grew to 1,258 acres over the weekend but increased to 20% containment, with more activity recorded Monday. 

Crater Ridge Fire started July 17 from suspected lightning 30 miles east-northeast of Lovell in the Bighorn National Forest. 

Due to gusty winds up to 30 mph and warmer, drier weather, the fire was more active Monday than observed over the past few days, according to a press release from fire officials. 

Fire activity should moderate considerably Tuesday due to cooler temperatures and higher humidity. Firefighters will continue to go directly south and north of Pumpkin Creek, where conditions allow, assisted by a helicopter dropping water over hot spots as needed. 

Smoky skies continue, with much of the smoke coming from multiple fires in states further west in the U.S. and north in Canada. 

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Man sentenced in reservation shooting

RIVERTON — A 21-year-old Fort Washakie man was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release after being convicted of shooting his cousin. 

Victor Ynostrosa also was ordered to pay $26,557.28 in restitution and a $100 special assessment fee. 

He was indicted by a grand jury March 25 for the Dec. 10, 2020, shooting. On that date, Wind River Police Department officers were dispatched a reported shooting in Fort Washakie. They found a young man with a bullet wound in the chest, identified as Ynostrosa’s cousin. 

A statement by acting U.S. Attorney for Wyoming Bob Murray reported that, after a night of heavy drinking with his sister and cousin, three people started arguing, and “an altercation ensued.” 

Ynostrosa brandished a .22 caliber firearm and shot his cousin in the upper torso, which missed his heart but hit his aorta. 

The victim was taken to Wyoming Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries where he underwent surgery. He survived the shooting. 

Ynostrosa was located a short time later and arrested. 

“These types of cases must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of law to provide justice for the victim and reassure the public that we hold any person who risks the lives of others accountable,” said Murray. “This was an unfortunate event but one that was preventable. It is never a good idea to mix alcohol and firearms.” 

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Interim Grand Teton chief ranger takes over job

JACKSON — Erika Jostad’s baseline for what Grand Teton National Park is like in the summer is skewed by 2021, easily the busiest year in the park’s 82-year-and-running history.

Teton Park’s incoming permanent chief ranger has been in the job for months on an interim basis, during which time she’s overseen some 60 “incident responses” to fire — and that’s with a couple months of wildfire season remaining. The more general emergency call caseload has ballooned, too, outpacing gains in visitation and increasing nearly 70% over the average from the past five years.

“One of the things I’ve heard a lot about is that more people are coming to national parks, who are maybe not traditional park visitors,” Jostad told the News&Guide. “It’s wonderful that we’re reaching new audiences and developing their support, but they’re also less experienced with things like camping, hiking, backcountry travel and river travel. And so it’s a possibility that they’re the ones who are more likely to get in trouble.”

The fast-paced, action-packed nature of a job overseeing a ranger corps at one of the five most peopled national parks isn’t something that’s off-putting to Jostad. Rather, there was an allure to the sometimes-hectic duties after a six-year stint as chief ranger at Alaska’s Denali National Park, which is comparatively remote and quiet.

Jostad succeeds Michael Nash, who took a position this spring as a national law enforcement specialist with the National Park Service’s Washington, D.C., office.

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