Wyoming news briefs for August 20


Firefighters waiting for season-ending event to quell Crater Ridge Fire

SHERIDAN – Growth and containment of the Crater Ridge Fire will likely not cease until a season-ending event, such as a heavy snowfall, according to a press release from fire officials Thursday. 

The fire — started July 17 from suspected lightning 30 miles east of Lovell in the Bighorn National Forest — sits at 4,343 acres with 30-percent containment, as of Thursday morning. 

Despite firefighter efforts, two U.S. Forest Service-administered structures were lost on the east side of the fire due to Tuesday's extreme behavior. 

While the weather forecast calls for a high percent chance of wetting rain through Friday, it's unknown how much will reach the fire, the press release said. 

Hot and dry conditions will return and what moisture is gained from current precipitation will be gone quickly, and fire officials said the extreme erratic behavior and rate of spread seen Tuesday demonstrated the need for the current fire area closure, which extends into the northeastern portion of the Medicine Wheel Ranger District, north of Medicine Mountain, including roads and trails.

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Teton County upgraded to red (high) risk level from COVID-19

JACKSON — In recognition of the growing prevalence of the COVID-19 delta variant, the Teton County Health Department has moved the county’s risk level to the red or “high” level.

The Health Department has changed the way it establishes that risk level to align with how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does it, with focus on transmission rates.

“We are hoping that this change will allow community members to easily see the metrics that show the transmission level of COVID-19 in our community,” Director of Health Jodie Pond said in a statement. “While the other COVID metrics are important, they do not play as large of a role in the risk of getting COVID-19 in our community.”

The Health Department recommends that while the county is in the high-risk level people wear face masks, socially distance and avoid crowded spaces, limit trips to the grocery store and other public places, and get vaccinated.

In response to the growing spike, government buildings and some businesses are changing their hours or practices. Teton County and federal agencies are mandating masks in some places, and the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitors Center closed Thursday. It plans to reopen Sunday with limited services outside the building, weather dependent.

With those systems in place, viral transmission and case rates have become the main source of community risk. Since the CDC scale takes into account transmission rates and the rate of positive tests, Pond said, it better matches Teton County’s current situation.

As Teton County shifts to red, cases are climbing quickly, eclipsing where they were at this time last year, despite roughly 71 percent of the population being vaccinated.

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Boulder man dies in rollover

PINEDALE — Matthew F. Letsinger, 39, died Wednesday evening after his 2007 GMC Sierra 2500 truck rolled on Highway 353, a mile from the Boulder Bar & Grill. 

Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Klief Guenther said Letsinger was intoxicated “without question” when he left the bar and a friend who knew he was impaired was driving to pick him up. Letsinger’s truck traveled only .7 of a mile before going off the road, rolling and ejecting him. He was not wearing a seatbelt; Letsinger was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Salmonella outbreak linked to frozen shrimp

JACKSON — Are you thinking of making shrimp tacos for dinner?

Think again if you're using that bag of frozen shrimp you've had for a couple of months. Avanti Frozen Foods, which supplies a large number of frozen seafood brands, has issued a broad recall for frozen cooked shrimp distributed between Nov. 2020 and May 2021, but potentially sold later.

Nine people have contracted salmonella after eating shrimp from affected brands, with three requiring hospitalization. Though no cases have been reported in Wyoming, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says many salmonella cases go untreated because people recover on their own within four to seven days.

Severe symptoms of salmonella include: diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 degrees; diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving; bloody diarrhea; so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down; and signs of dehydration, such as not urinating much, dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up. 

If you have these symptoms, you should call your doctor.

The affected brands include 365, Ahold, Big River, Censea, Chicken of the Sea, CWNO, First Street, Food Lion, Hannaford, Harbor Banks, Honest Catch, HOS, Meijer, Nature’s Promise, Open Acres, Sandbar, Sea Cove, Waterfront Bistro, Wellsley Farms and WFNO Brands.

Click here to read the recall itself for information on package sizes and descriptions. If you have shrimp from one of the brands, the safest thing to do is throw it away.

Maybe you can have fish tacos instead.

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