Wyoming news briefs for September 7


Climber in fatality identified as California resident

JACKSON — The climber found dead at the base of the Black Chimney route on Teewinot Mountain has been identified as Hitoshi Onoe, a 42-year old IT engineer who was vacationing in Jackson. 

A Japanese national, Onoe worked in San Jose, California, according to a Teton Park news release. 

His cause of death hasn’t been determined, according to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue, who provided the Jackson Hole Daily with details about Onoe after his family was notified.

Besides his name, profession and age, Blue said that Onoe had been staying at an Airbnb in town.

Teton Park representatives have not said what route Onoe was climbing, though many climbers regard the general area where he was found as hard to navigate.

The National Park Service is investigating the accident and has released little information about what happened aside from details included in a Saturday evening news release.

Climbing rangers responded Saturday after a separate climber ascending Teewinot reported finding a deceased man at the base of the Black Chimney. Onoe was likely alone and planning to climb the East Face, based on a marked map found with him, the release said.

Park spokesman CJ Adams told the Daily that the incident that led to the man’s death likely occurred Friday, and rangers were notified around noon Saturday. The park recovered his body with a helicopter.

Teewinot has claimed a number of lives over the years, most recently in May 2018 when a Jackson nurse appeared to have slipped and fallen on a high-angle snowfield.

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Fentanyl deaths reported in Fremont County

RIVERTON — Local health officials and law enforcement are warning residents about an uptick in drug-related incidents involving fentanyl and opioids. 

“In June, the Fremont County Coroner’s Office responded to two confirmed fentanyl deaths,” chief deputy coroner Erin Ivie said in a statement issued cooperatively with the Fremont County Prevention Program. 

“As recreational use of this drug continues, we anticipate more but are hopeful that the community understands how deadly it can be.” 

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. 

The drug was developed as a pharmaceutical pain management tool for cancer patients, but because of its powerful opioid properties, FCPP says fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. 

“Recreational use of fentanyl is deadly, simply put,” Fremont County Sheriff Ryan Lee said. “Street use of this substance substantially increases the likelihood of sudden death.” 

Typically a medicine used to treat severe pain under brand names including Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze, synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. 

In 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl, compared to 14.3 percent in 2010. 

Prescription fentanyl can be given as a shot, a patch that is put on a person’s skin, or as lozenges that are sucked like cough drops.

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Fire restrictions lifted in northwest Wyoming

POWELL — With the arrival of cooler temperatures and more rain, local land managers are lifting fire restrictions. 

The Shoshone National Forest and the Bureau of Land Manage- ment recently removed fire bans and Park County commis- sioners will like- ly do the same next week. 

On Tuesday, Park County Fire Warden Jerry Parker told commissioners that recent rain and lower temperatures have significantly reduced the threat of a major wildfire. 

“Even though we may still have some warm dry weather left before winter, we will probably not return to the extreme conditions that prompted the fire closures,” Parker wrote in a letter. 

Park County commissioners will consider lifting the fire ban — which prohibited all outdoor open fires unless they met one of several exceptions — at Tuesday’s meeting. 

When they first implemented the ban in July, the weather was hot, vegetation was dry and the Robertson Draw Fire had just ripped across about 30,000 acres between Clark and Red Lodge, Montana, destroying multiple cabins. Going against Parker’s advice, commissioners waited until after the Fourth of July to ban fireworks and other open fires. It wound up being a relatively quiet holiday for local firefighters and, despite spending a number of days in “extreme” fire danger, only one other substantial fire — the Crater Ridge Fire in the Bighorn Mountains — broke out in the region in July and August. 

“We were very fortunate this summer that we didn’t have anything that got out of hand that the local fire departments and the federal agencies couldn’t get under control,” Parker said. 

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