By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Firefighters in the Shoshone National Forest are now predicting containment of a wildfire burning west of Cody within two weeks.
More than 110 firefighters are battling the 591-acre Lost Creek Fire about halfway between Cody and Yellowstone National Park.
The fire was first reported on Saturday and officials say growth in the blaze has been slow since Sunday.
On “InciWeb,” a website that features up-to-date information about wildfires on public land, officials estimated the fire would be contained by June 27.
Marvin Mathison, the operations section chief for the Lost Creek Fire, said crews are feeling positive about firefighting efforts despite the rugged terrain that resulted in the injury of one firefighter.
“One of the Craig Hotshots had a rock come down and it hit him in the leg,” he explained. “It took his legs out from underneath him, he fell backwards and hit his head on a rock. We did get him out, we took a ground ambulance and transported him to Cody.”
The Craig Interagency Hotshot Crew is a 20-22 person team based in Craig, Colorado, that battles wildfires on federal land around the region.
The fire spurred the temporary evacuation of two dude ranches, including the Bill Cody Ranch, where observers first spotted the fire.
Park County Emergency Management Director Jack Tatum praised local residents, many of whom offered help to anyone who needed to remove livestock from the fire area.
“I’ve seen on Facebook just the tremendous outpouring of support from local citizens,” he said. “They’re saying, ‘Hey, if you’ve got horses, hey, if you’ve got whatever, I’ve got room for ‘em.’”
One of the biggest complications in battling the Lost Creek Fire is the measures that have to be taken to keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic, Sue Eichoff, a district ranger for the Shoshone National Forest, said at Sunday’s meeting.
“Smaller groups are spread out, we’re using the ‘module of one’ concept for housing,” she explained. “We’re doing social distancing if we have meetings, and doing our sanitizing, we’ve got a lot of personal protective equipment that the crews and the people that are working here have.”
Eichoff expressed her appreciation for the effort to keep the public safe, as well as employees and firefighters.