Wyoming news briefs for October 6


Woman burned after jumping into hot springs to save dog

JACKSON — A 20-year-old woman from Washington suffered thermal burns during her visit to Yellowstone National Park when she chased her dog into a hot spring that the dog dove into.

Yellowstone rangers and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District staff provided initial care to the woman, who has significant burns between her shoulders and feet, before she was transported to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, according to a National Park Service press release.

The dog jumped out of the car and into the spring as the woman and her father exited their vehicle to look around while they were in the Fountain Flat Drive area south of Madison Junction, the press release states.

The dog was removed from the Maiden’s Grave Spring near the Firehole River, and the woman’s father intended to take the dog to a veterinarian. The dog’s status is currently unknown.

The incident remains under investigation, according to the release.

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Man killed in fire ran back into house

LARAMIE — A 50-year-old Albany County man died last week after running back into his burning house.

That’s one of the findings of Richard Embrey, a veteran investigator for the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office, who also determined that Garth Churches’ death Thursday was accidental.

The fire started in the stovepipe of a woodstove in a bedroom in the back of the house, he said. There was apparently something wrong with the junction where the pipe enters into the ceiling, “and between there and the roof there were some issues with the pipe, which had rusted. The fire breached and started to burn in the attic and burned in the attic until discovered.”

Mr. Churches’ wife and three children also were in the house at the time the fire broke out, but they all escaped without serious injury, Embrey said.

“According to Mrs. Churches, she was awakened by smoke in the house,” he said. “Apparently, it was getting bad. She told her husband she was going to gather the children and exit the structure.

“He said he was going to get a garden hose and attempt to extinguish the fire. I’m not sure he was aware how bad it was.”

Embrey said the wife recounted that Mr. Churches got out through a sliding glass door in the bedroom on the west side of the house.

“But then for some unknown reason, he reentered the structure from the main entrance on the east side of the house,” he said. “When he did that, he walked right into some thick smoke and superheated air, and he asphyxiated.”

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Grizzly, cubs killed after attack on hunter

CASPER — A hunter who was attacked by a grizzly this weekend shot and killed the bear, wildlife officials said. Her two cubs were later euthanized by authorities.

The attack occurred Saturday morning as the man was elk hunting west of Cody. He and his hunting partner had a “sudden encounter” with the bears, according to a statement from state and federal wildlife agencies. The female grizzly had not been handled by officials in the past and was unmarked.

Saturday’s mauling was the first human injury from a grizzly encounter in Wyoming this year, said Dan Smith, Cody regional wildlife supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish.

“It was an unprovoked attack,” Smith said. “There was nothing that indicates the hunters had done anything that would provoke an attack.”

The hunter may have accidentally startled the bear, come too close to her cubs or approached an important food source, Smith said.

“This time of year, bears are very hyperphagic, and they’re trying to put on weight before they go in to hibernate in the winter. And so if they have a food source that they’re protecting, that could instigate aggressive behavior,” he said.

The agency did not reveal the extent of the hunter’s injuries, but reported that they were not life-threatening. After the attack, he rode five miles out to a trailhead on horseback before being flown by helicopter to a hospital in Billings, Montana.

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Legislator Hunt joins Lummis staff

TORRINGTON – Wyoming District 2 Rep. Hans Hunt resigned from his position on Friday and will be working with U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis as her Agriculture and Trade Policy Advisor in Washington D.C. 

Hunt said his new job will focus on cutting out red tape with the Federal Meat Inspection Act and freeing up commerce in the meat market industry. The position relates closely to issues in Wyoming which Hunt believes will require him to come back frequently.

“Beyond just working within the office in D.C I’ll be coming home fairly frequently to Wyoming to attend all of the agricultural industry conventions. Farm Bureau, stock growers, local growers, and I guess anything else I’m asked to be at,” Hunt said. 

After receiving the offer last week, he called House Speaker Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, and House Majority Leader Albert Sommers R-Pinedale to let them know of his resignation. 

He also visited with Governor Mark Gordon to hand in his official letter of resignation on Thursday morning. 

Hunt’s resignation was in effect at 8 a.m. on Friday. 

While he is excited to start the new position, Hunt said leaving the community he served for 10 years will be tough. 

“For a decade of my life it’s been a central part of my routine,” Hunt said. “it’s going to be a big change. There’s a whole lot of it I know I’m going to miss, and some of it I know hasn’t sunk in yet.”

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More than 1,800 expected for Airstream rally in Rock Springs

ROCK SPRINGS — On Tuesday, Sept. 21, executives of Airstream Club International signed a contract solidifying Sweetwater Events Complex as the site for the Airstream Club International 2023 Rally. 

Over 1,800 people from 49 states and Canadian providences will be flocking to the Sweetwater Events Complex in June 2023. 

“Our visit with the executive team members was extremely successful. We were able to brainstorm how to set up the rally around the grounds and activities in Sweetwater County for rally attendees to participate in,” said Sweetwater Events Complex executive director, Larry Lloyd. 

This will be the 66th Airstream Internationally Rally and the second time the rally has been held in Wyoming; it is the inaugural visit to Sweetwater County. 

During the rally attendees will meet fellow Airstream members, learn about the Airstream lifestyle and explore all the activities, local businesses and restaurants Sweetwater County has to offer.

Airstream International Club and the Sweetwater Events Complex are partnering with the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, the City of Rock Springs, and Downtown URA to ensure the community and local businesses are involved. 

The rally will significantly boost tourism and economic activity in Sweetwater County. Airstream rally attendees and vendors are estimated to spend in excess of $1,043,889 in Sweetwater County (Dean Runyan Associates, 2020).

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