(Fort Washakie, WY) – County 10 caught up with Marilynn Davis, the Medical Unit Leader and Public Information Officer (PIO) in training for the Washakie Park wildfire, who provided further, in-depth information on the fire as of today, September 14.
Below are some photos of the incident command site, where firefighters and responders are camped out and hunkered down while addressing the fire.
According to Davis, the fire is now at 2400 acres and 40% contained, which means the teams have placed a fire break around any potential burning spots, and have put out approximately 40% of the fire around the perimeter.
The fire is still under investigation, and as of right now the cause and exact location of the start of the fire is unknown, with investigators currently using lightning maps to help figure out if it was human or nature caused.
Friday will see the transition to a Type 4 team from Type 3, and Davis helped break down what that entails.
Fire teams are arranged in a five tier system, ranging from Type 5 fires, smaller incidents like garbage or house fires, to Type 1, which would deal with hundred thousands acre fires where multiple lives and buildings are at critical risk.
The transition from a Type 3 to Type 4 team on Friday means the fire is starting to be more contained, and posing less risk of spreading.
Teams are still using full suppression strategy as well, which Davis explained is when the goal is to put the fire out completely, rather than letting it burn off dead and downed trees at a controlled pace.
“It may take a season-ending event like a downpour or a snowstorm to actually put that fire out,” Davis added.
Davis did confirm that no buildings and no people are at immediate risk, but added that some hunting camps and recreationalists have been escorted out of the area.
She also stated that firefighters have been equipped with bear spray, as there have already been a number of sightings since addressing the fire.
Aerial resources, and both direct and indirect approaches are being utilized, with the direct approach meaning the fire is attacked head on.
Indirect means fuel breaks are created at certain points of the fire, where the teams dig into the dirt until they reach minerals that no longer fuel the fire.
Public drone use was also discouraged by Davis, who explained that all fire aircrafts have to be grounded when drones are detected in the area.
As mentioned above, Davis is also Medical Unit Leader, and described how having such a remote fire necessitates having three teams of medics, including Advanced Life Support Emergency paramedics that are EMT fireline qualified.
“The fire may continue to burn the next couple of weeks, so people may still see smoke,” Davis concluded. We just want people to know it is being monitored and it is being watched.”
Davis shared the following photos taken by firefighters on the scene.
Wyoming Indian Schools also placed the following thank you banners at the base of the site to show their appreciation.
For all of County 10’s coverage of the Washakie Park wildfire, click here.