Local firefighters battle Lava Mountain blaze
As the summer fire season continues in the western US a series of relatively large conflagrations are burning in the Rocky Mountain region.
Typically, when fires reach a certain size, expand at a certain rate or pose a high enough level of risk to people and communities additional resources will be called in to help battle the blaze. Earlier this summer as the Beaver Creek Fire was just beginning to roll through North Park the Grand Lake Fire Protection District and the Grand Fire Protection District sent personnel to support those suppression efforts.
Now firefighters from Grand Lake Fire and Grand Fire in Granby are battling a blaze in west central Wyoming called the Lava Mountain Fire. One Type 3 Engine and four local personnel are currently up in Wyoming completing a 14-day assignment on the Lava Mountain Fire. Grand Lake Fire dispatched their Engine 369 to the blaze with Engine Boss Paul Mintier, Engine Operator Lt. Blake Mertz and Grand Lake Resident Firefighter Matt Reinhardt, who is working on his first official wild land fire according to Grand Lake Fire Chief Mike Long. Also working on the Lava Mountain Fire with Grand Lake firefighters is Grand Fire Protection District firefighter Joe Starika.
“Today (Tuesday Aug. 2) is actually their fourteenth day on the fire,” said Chief Long yesterday. “They will be traveling home tomorrow and we will have them back in District.”
The Lava Mountain Fire is burning in western Wyoming between the communities of Moran to the north and Dubois to the south along the side of US Highway 289. The fire is burning in the Shoshone National Forest.
As of Tuesday August 2 the Lava Mountain Fire has burned a total of 14,339-acres. The Lava Mountain Fire was started on July 11. Authorities believe the fire was sparked by a lightening strike. The fire has prompted numerous evacuation orders in the impacted area as well as many road closures.
Official data from the Federal Governments Incident Information System, InciWeb, states the blaze currently stands at 50 percent contained. Fire authorities estimate full containment of the Lava Mountain Fire will occur on Oct. 1. InciWeb lists a total of 817 personnel battling the Lava Mountain Fire as of Tuesday.
Firefighters are managing the Lava Mountain Fire as a full suppression fire, utilizing both ground and aerial suppression resources. Firefighters are also using natural and man-made barriers to check the fire’s spread where possible.
Over the past several days gusting northwestern winds have pushed the fire, making suppression efforts more difficult. The fire is burning primarily in a forest of mixed conifer trees, with significant amounts of bug killed timber in the area, also complicating suppression efforts.
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West Grand seniors Rene Dominguez, right, and Angel Dominguez pass the baton during one of the nighttime relays at the 2021 Joe Shields Invitational at WGHS.