Elevated fire watch, elevated haze

forecast to occur,” it said Thursday. “Listen for later forecasts and possible ‘red flag’ warnings.” The weekend might bring relief in the form of precipitation predicted by the NWS – “Saturday will be partly cloudy and breezy with isolated late day showers and thunderstorms. Sunday will be partly cloudy with isolated afternoon/evening showers and thunderstorms from the Snowy and South Laramie Range east to the southern Nebraska Panhandle. Monday will be mostly sunny.” For weather information, go to www.weather.gov/cys. SUBLETTE COUNTY – A Colorado wildfire consultant is helping at least 30 clients from the Hoback Ranches submit their federal tort claims against the U.S. Forest Service for millions in property damages allegedly caused by its handling of the 2018 Roosevelt Fire. Frank Carroll of Professional Fire Management based in Pueblo spoke on the record in a Sept. 16 phone call. The Roosevelt Fire was reported south of Bondurant on Sept. 15, when two Rock Springs hunters – Steve and Dakota Knezovich – found and reported a small warming fire near Grizzly Creek in the Roosevelt Meadows area of the Wyoming Range. They believed the growing fire was being fought but the next day they had to travel through it, leaving Roosevelt Meadows and following the Hoback River to the Upper Hoback trailhead. Both were transported to St. John’s Hospital for emergency treatment of serious and severe burns and then moved to other hospitals for more intensive care. About 16 more hunters, most in the mountains for the opening of deer-hunting season, also were evacuated after the fire blew up quickly. Soon Hoback Ranches’ residents were asked to evacuate and as the fire raged uncontrolled, people in Bondurant and Jim Bridger Estates were advised to evacuate. By Sept. 20, 2018, the Roosevelt Fire had grown to almost 32,000 acres and three days later, it covered 48,348 acres. In the end it destroyed 55 private buildings of Hoback Ranches’ 153 total homes on private property. A total of 61,511 acres of private land and Bridger-Teton National Forest was burned. Personal injury The Knezoviches filed a personal injury claim against the Forest Service Federal Tort Claims Act before Sept. 15, inside the two-year statute of limitations, according to Carroll. These are the first to be filed of about 30 more damage claims expected against the Forest Service by Sept. 22, which Carroll said seek more than $100 million from the Forest Service. Carroll said he is working with Missoula attorney Quentin Rhoades to complete in-depth reports to send with their tort damages claims “en masse” to the Forest Service’s Intermountain Region 4 Office. Rhoades did not respond to phone messages from the Pinedale Roundup. “They know they are coming,” Carroll said of the Forest Service. “The two hunters’ claim was already filed.” Carroll, who worked for the Forest Service for 31 years, said he now does “wildfire post-mortems” to see whether Forest Service actions – in this case during the Roosevelt Fire’s early days – “was appropriate … or if they were making a decision about private property (burning) for management purposes.” “We are literally working day and night to send these reports to (Rhoades’ office in) Missoula,” Carroll said. BTNF’s Mary Cernicek said tort claims would not be submitted to the Supervisor’s Office in Jackson. National Press Officer Babette Anderson emailed the Roundup on Thursday morning, saying, “I’m reaching out to the appropriate staff to assist with your question” about the Knezoviches’ claim. Federal Tort Claims Act The Federal Tort Claims Act “provides for consideration of claims against the U.S. for damage to or loss of personal property, personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the United States while acting within the scope of employment, under circumstances where the U.S if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act of omission occurred.” Claims are filled out on Standard Form 95 with “sum certain” amount of money sought in damages. They would be processed at the Forest Service’s Albuquerque, N.M. office and investigated at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. By Joy Ufford [email protected] The AQD's Boulder site shows current and 'ideal' conditions.

Almost constant smoky haze

from wildfires to the west of Wyoming provides brilliant

sunsets – and should be a reminder that extreme fire dangers

continue in western Wyoming.

This week, the National Weather Service posted airquality

alerts for continued smoke and haze along with

warm, dry weather that will raise its fire danger to “high”

on Saturday.

The NWS’s air-quality alert for Sept. 17 said, “Thick

smoke from wildfires in other states has been observed

across much of western and central Wyoming.”

NWS released these alerts on behalf of the Wyoming

Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality

Division and Wyoming Department of Health.

“Obviously, when smoke is heavy we consider it a

health concern, especially for children, older people and

individuals with certain health conditions,” said Kim Deti

for the Department of Health. “If smoke is heavy where you

live, you should be mindful and limit outdoor exercise.”

This would apply to the elderly, young children and

people with respiratory problems who should avoid

excessive physical exertion and prolonged exposure.

People with concerns can check the AQD’s current air

quality conditions at its monitoring stations at http://www.

wyvisnet.com.

NWS’s fire danger forecasts point to ongoing low

humidity, gusty winds and unseasonably warm temperatures

that “will create erratic fire behavior.”

Winds are expected from the southwest at 10 to 20 miles

per hour with gusts up to 30 mph. Humidity is expected to

be as low as 10 percent in lower elevations and 14 to 18

percent in higher elevations.

“A fire weather watch means that critical fire weather

conditions are forecast to occur,” it said Thursday. “Listen

for later forecasts and possible ‘red flag’ warnings.”

The weekend might bring relief in the form of

precipitation predicted by the NWS – “Saturday will be

partly cloudy and breezy with isolated late day showers and

thunderstorms. Sunday will be partly cloudy with isolated

afternoon/evening showers and thunderstorms from the

Snowy and South Laramie Range east to the southern

Nebraska Panhandle. Monday will be mostly sunny.”

For weather information, go to www.weather.gov/cys.

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