An insurance company and the man who started the Horsethief Canyon Fire south of Jackson, Wyoming have agreed to pay a total of $2.9 million in restitution. The fire started when James G. Anderson Jr., 79, was burning debris in a rusted barrel. Embers that fell through holes in the barrel on September 8, 2012 ignited the fire that burned 3,373 acres.
The settlement stipulates that Mr. Anderson will be responsible for $425,000. Insurance companies State Farm and Mountain West Farm Bureau will pick up the rest, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Wyoming.
The U.S. Forest Service has billed a 77-year old Wyoming man $6.3 million for causing the Horsethief Canyon Fire that burned 3,373 acres five miles south of Jackson, Wyoming in September, 2012.
Using a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Associated Press obtained a copy of the bill that was sent to James G. Anderson Jr. A breakdown of the charges included $3.6 million for the USFS, $2 million for the Bureau of Land Management, $54,000 for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, $154,000 for the National Park Service, and $252,000 for the state of Wyoming and Teton County. The total suppression costs of the fire was about $9 million.
Investigators determined the fire started from a rusted-out barrel Mr. Anderson was using to burn debris at his son’s home.
The Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park has burned 673 acres but received some rain and snow on Saturday. The fire is being managed by a National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) team.
Some people prayed that the Horsethief Canyon fire would burn down the city of Jackson, Wyoming last month.
Firefighters generally don’t have an opportunity to read newspapers while they are working on a fire unless an Information Officer posts them on a bulletin board at the Incident Command Post. But firefighters on the Horsethief Canyon Fire just south of Jackson, Wyoming would have been intrigued, at least, if they knew that a writer for a local paper, the JH Weekly, wrote that they did not need baked goods or food, but:
Dropping by the command center … with a six pack would probably not be discouraged by most of the Pulaski swingers.
While the “Pulaski swingers” might enjoy a brew at the end of a shift, the fire has rules against alcohol in fire camp. We asked Nan Stinson, a spokesperson for the fire if they had received any donations of beer, and she said she thought at least one person had shown up with some beer but they were turned away.
The fire has not spread much in recent days, but there is a Red Flag Warning in effect for today. The weather forecast predicts west winds at 14 mph with gusts up to 20, temperature of 80, and a relative humidity of 14% Saturday afternoon.
The fire has burned 3,353 acres and is 41 percent contained. The resources assigned include 9 helicopters, 16 hand crews, 43 engines, and 3 dozers.