DANIEL – High winds blew live power lines Monday, causing an arc and sparking one fire on Horse Creek Road and bring out two county battalions. As a third set of firefighters responded, they were diverted to a second new call on the Cottonwood-Ryegrass Road.
The initial call came in around 4:25 p.m. when power lines, whipped up by winds gusting up to 45 miles an hour, caught some trees on fire along Horse Creek Road near Milepost 4. A passing driver called the fire in and stopped to contain the blaze that was running with the high winds.
Battalion 5 from Daniel and Battalion 1 from Pinedale were sent by Sublette County Unified Fire and contained that fire on one side of the road, which they used as a fire line. However, a smoldering tree erupted in flames and sent embers across the road, igniting dry grass on the other side, behind the firefighters.
That fire was contained at less than one-fifth of an acre.
Mike Petty, spokesman for Sublette County Unified Fire, said the Marbleton-Big Piney Battalion 2 was called in to help when another call came in from a ranch hand at Cottonwood Ranches about another grass fire.
Battalion 2 diverted to Cottonwood-Ryegrass Road where the grass fire threatened to reach log piles. The Marbleton-Big Piney firefighters got there quickly and contained that fire. The cause of the second fire is unknown.
“It was a remote area and no structures were threatened,” Petty said.
Petty called the high winds “pretty ridiculous” conditions for firefighting. It was a unique situation, he added, with three of the county’s battalions dispatched and the one’s diversion to Cottonwood-Ryegrass saving response times.