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High Desert District
Release Date: 07/17/14
Contacts: Shelley Gregory,    

Firefighter Injured on Rock Ridge Fire

A Sweetwater County firefighter sustained first and second degree burns Monday during mop-up operations on the Rock Ridge wildfire four miles south of Point of Rocks east of Rock Springs, Wyo.

The Rock Ridge fire was reported on the evening of July 13. On July 14, a Sweetwater County fire engine with a crew of four was dispatched to assist a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fire engine with mop-up. Around 11:30 a.m., one of the county crewmembers was burned on the forearms, inner thighs and shins and subsequently transported by a life flight helicopter from the fire area to the University of Utah Burn Center in Salt Lake City. The firefighter remains at the burn center for treatment.

A wildland fire accident investigation team arrived in Rock Springs Wednesday to conduct a review of the incident. "Whenever there’s an injury during firefighting operations, one of our top priorities is to learn everything we can about the circumstances so that we can prevent similar incidents," says BLM Nevada Las Vegas District Fire Management Officer Mike Haydon, team lead for the investigation.

The BLM and Sweetwater County are working together to ensure the injured firefighter receives necessary care and support during recovery. The BLM is also bringing in a Critical Incident Stress Management Team to counsel all BLM and county personnel who were at the incident.

The lightning-caused Rock Ridge fire burned grass, sagebrush and juniper on approximately half an acre of public land and three-and-a-half acres of private land. It was contained on July 14 and controlled on July 15.

BLM Wyoming High Desert District Fire Management Officer Frank Keeler states, “Fire activity is on the increase across Southern Wyoming as the weather gets hotter and fuels dry out. National fire preparedness is now at level three and we need to be vigilant.” BLM Wyoming has brought in two single engine air tankers, or SEATS, to Rawlins, Wyo., to boost initial attack capabilities throughout the district. A Type 1 helicopter is also staged in Rawlins as well as one in Laramie, Wyo.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

High Desert District   280 Highway 191 North      Rock Springs, WY 82901  

Last updated: 07-17-2014