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First News with Leslie Stratmoen

Submitted by Newsroom on August 29, 2011 – 7:19 amNo Comment


Construction crew was chip sealing road

By News Director Leslie Stratmoen

RIVERTON, Wyo. – Authorities say a crew with the Wyoming Department of Transportation was dong chip sealing work on state Highway 789 where a Riverton couple was killed last week in a crash west of Shoshoni.

Highway Patrol trooper Jessie Jackson said last week that Anthony and Deaun Smith were heading east toward Shoshoni Thursday morning and had just stopped at a flag point west of Boysen causeway when their car was hit from behind by another vehicle. Both were killed at the scene. They were in their mid-50s.

The driver of the pickup truck that hit their PT Cruiser was 31-year-old Gavin Shurtleff. He was treated and released from Riverton’s hospital. No others were involved in the crash and no charges have been filed. His speed has not yet been determined, however, the patrol says the impact carried both vehicles 375 feet off the roadway.



Search for grizzly connected to hiker’s death

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — The search for a grizzly bear connected to a hiker’s death in Yellowstone National Park continued Sunday, with no word on whether the bear was responsible for a killing a man hiking in the backcountry last week.

grizzly stock photo

A spokesman for the park said Sunday that park employees continued searching for the bear around the Mary Mountain Trail northeast of Old Faithful, where hikers discovered a dead body Friday. Authorities found grizzly bear tracks and scat near the body, but an autopsy is pending to determine whether the bear killed the man, or disturbed his body after he died.

An autopsy is planned for the victim, who has not been named. Officials say he is a Michigan man in his 60s, but they haven’t further identified him pending family notification.


Dry lightning sparks new Wyoming wildfires

Some 500 lightning strikes in Wyoming over a 24-hour period has resulted in about a half dozen new fires in the state.

State Forester Bill Crapser says five new rangeland fires are burning in Niobrara County and at least another one in Converse County.

The fires range in size from 500 to 3,000 acres and involve mostly sage brush, grass and scattered trees.

Crapser says firefighting crews from as far away as Laramie County are being brought in to help local crews.

Another new fire near Hyattville in Big Horn County has burned 460 acres.

Meantime, firefighters have contained a 4,000-acre fire north of Gillette and a 14,400-acre wildfire west of Wheatland. The fire near Clark is mostly contained in Wyoming and efforts have shifted to Montana.


Fire officials issue mudslide warning 

CLARK, Wyo. –Though the Hole In the Wall Fire burning near Clark, Wyo., is nearly contained, fire officials say it’s burned in several steep drainages with enough intensity to reduce vegetative ground cover. 

As a result, roots and plants have been damaged or destroyed and may no longer hold and filter rainwater that may fall within the fire perimeter. That means dangerous debris and mudslides may result from heavy rains that collect the debris and soils and move it quickly down drainages and outside of the fire perimeter. Once the area reopens, recreationists should be aware that these flows may happen quickly and with great intensity.

Fire managers will be using a water enhancer called Thermo Gel to suppress fire activity.  The gel enhances the efficiency of water and does not pose any threat to the environment or wildlife. Preparations have been completed for the contingency burnout operation, if needed. 

The Hole in the Wall fire is now at 6,200 acres and remains at 75 percent containment. Increase in acreage is due to an estimated 50 acres that has burned to the west in the Line Creek drainage. Moderate weather last night and today has reduced fire activity, although heavy fuels within the fire perimeter continue to burn.  

As of late yesterday, there were 356 fire-fighters assigned to the incident manning an effort that included 5 Hot Shot crews, 2 Type-2 crews, 8 helicopters, 12 engines, one dozer and one water tender.


Gas prices rise, hurricane damage to refineries minimal

WYOMING — Average retail gasoline prices in Wyoming have risen 2.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.52/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 2.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.61/g, according to gasoline price website

Including the change in gas prices in Wyoming during the past week, prices yesterday were 80.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 1.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has decreased 9.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 91.6 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

Patrick DeHaan is the senior petroleum analyst for He says: “Retail gasoline prices finished last week quite strong in some areas on concern surrounding Hurricane Irene.” He went on to say: “The concern surrounding refinery production on the East Coast helped boost gasoline prices outside that area as well. The good news for motorists is that damage to refineries was likely minimal and gasoline production will resume soon. However, with Labor Day weekend fast approaching and these refineries taking days to resume production we still may see retail prices gradually climb during this week.”

About operates over 200 live gasoline price-tracking websites, including was named one of Time magazine’s 50 best websites and to PC World’s 100 most useful websites of 2008.

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