Wyoming news briefs for July 27


Saw Mill Fire on Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center contained

GUERNSEY – The combined efforts of multiple agencies have led to 100-percent containment of the Saw Mill Fire on Friday, July 23. 

The fire was initially reported on July 16 in the impact area in the North Training areas of Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center. The fire impacted approximately 1,300 acres of the north training area and 150 acres of private land. Camp Guernsey officials have been in contact with the landowner. 

Multiple resources, personnel, and agencies answered the call to support the effort. Teams from Camp Guernsey, Hartville, Guernsey, Guernsey Rural, Glendo, State Forestry, Palmer Canyon, Wheatland, West Virginia, and Jefferson County in Colorado all contributed personnel and resources to firefighting efforts. 

The Wyoming Army National Guard activated three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with water buckets to provide fire suppression when the fire moved to an area not accessible by ground. 

The Guard completed approximately 130 drops on the blaze, releasing up to 900 U.S. gallons (3,405 liters) of water per drop. The Guard extends its heartfelt thanks to the local responders and the community for its outpour of donations. 

“I can’t thank our mutual aid partners along with the Forestry Department enough,” said Lt. Col. Chris Troesh, Camp Guernsey base operations manager. “Partnerships are key to success in any wildfire situation, and the cooperation of our mutual partners was essential in containing this fire in the time that we did.” 

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

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Three rescued Sunday in Grand Teton National Park

JACKSON – With tens of thousands of tourists passing through any given day and a strong contingent of risk-taking residents, slip-trip type blunders, boating mishaps and climbing accidents are routine parts of summer life for Jackson Hole’s first-responders.

Sunday in Grand Teton National Park was a prime example.

The busy July weekend day for rangers began when a call came in that morning of a local man who sustained severe injuries while climbing the Open Book route of Disappointment Peak.

“He injured both legs, his partner was able to lower him to a ledge and then rappelled to his location,” Grand Teton spokesman C.J. Adams said.

The badly hurt resident was extracted from the Tetons via a “short haul,” a technique in which a rope is dangled from a helicopter that’s fixed to the patient. 

Ten minutes before noon, a call came in requesting help for an 18-year-old male tourist who had hurt a leg in the boulder field below the evermore popular Delta Lake.

Next up, the Snake River caused some chaos for two out-of-the-area kayakers who endeavored to float from Pacific Creek to Deadman’s Bar in a tandem boat. The call for help rang through around 4 p.m.

“They got caught up in a midstream obstruction,” Adams said. “Our rangers picked them up, essentially in a raft.”

Although natural river levels in the region are especially slim this summer, flows coming out of the Jackson Lake Dam are nearly 75 percent more than the historic median — high water that has caused some problems for boaters.

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Gillette residents criticize cemetery for concert series

GILLETTE — At least a pair of residents are upset at the direction the Campbell County Cemetery District is headed.

Gene and Patricia Bertch showed up to the Campbell County Commission meeting last week to voice their displeasure with the Cemetery District, particularly with its summer concert series and the sculpture walk programs.

Patricia Bertch said her family owns 16 plots on the hill at the cemetery, and that she was told that it would be a relaxing and meditative place.

“What we got was Gillette’s newest beer garden,” she said, referring to the Tuesday night acoustic concert series at Mount Pisgah. “There is no way beer should be there, or music.” 

Cemetery District board member Dean Vomhof said he was on the fence about the music because he wasn’t sure if it was really the right thing for the cemetery to do, so he went to the first concert.

“I went out there on a Tuesday, and I have to say, I was very surprised. It was very nice,” he said. “The music was low-key. Go, take a look at it, see what you think. It’s not done to disrespect anybody.”

“This initially has been kind of an experiment on partnering with the community to offer some summer events outside, and so our intent from the very beginning was to watch this very closely and see how it went,” said Jim Hastings, president of the Cemetery District board of trustees. He said about 125 people attended last week’s concert and there was no negative feedback.

There are four more concerts left in the series. They take place from 6-9 p.m. each Tuesday through Aug. 17.

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Cody man alleged to have hit four vehicles while impaired

POWELL — A 24-year-old man is in custody after he hit multiple vehicles before crashing and passing out Thursday night in Powell. 

Michael “Quinn” Levario, of Cody, is alleged to have been under the influence of either alcohol or a controlled substance at the time of the incident. Powell police say Levario appeared to have overdosed on opioids and officers found a syringe with a dark blue liquid and “numerous” alcoholic beverages inside his truck. 

Levario has been charged with three misdemeanor counts: driving while under the influence for a second time in 10 years, careless driving and failing to stop and notify the owner after a crash. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charges at a Friday morning appearance in Park County Circuit Court. 

Powell police responded to the area of Avenue E and Edmonds Street around 10:11 p.m. Thursday after getting a report that a Dodge pickup had hit numerous parked vehicles and the driver was unresponsive. Police would ultimately find that Levario had hit four vehicles before running into the back of a Ford Explorer and coming to a stop. 

Court records show that, among about a dozen misdemeanor offenses and citations from the past, Levario was convicted of driving while under the influence of a controlled substance in May 2017. 

Levario was also involved in a crash earlier this year. 

At Friday’s court appearance, Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters set Levario’s bond at $5,000, and he remained in jail on Monday afternoon. If he does post bond, Levario will be prohibited from driving “for any reason” while the case is pending. 

A trial is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 30.

*A Wyoming News Exchange story about a man alleged to have hit multiple vehicles in Powell contained an error. While Powell police initially alleged that Michael "Quinn" Levario of Cody hit five vehicles, police have clarified that Levario is actually suspected of hitting four vehicles.

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