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Wyoming News from AP

Submitted by rebecca on July 3, 2013 – 2:28 pmNo Comment

AMPUTEE BIKE TOUR

Double amputee biker crossing Wyo. on fundraiser

(Information in the following story is from: Laramie (Wyo.) Daily Boomerang, http://www.laramieboomerang.com)

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A man without arms is crossing Wyoming on a cross-country bicycle tour to raise money for a boy born without hands or forearms.

Hector Picard lost his arms after being electrocuted in 1992 in Florida and is now a triathlete. He’s biking from Miami to Washington to help pay for prosthetic arms for 1-year-old Jameson Davis of Spokane.

He stopped in Laramie Tuesday, where he spoke to firefighters and was escorted by fire trucks as he left for Rawlins. He’s biking to Jeffrey City Wednesday.

The Laramie Boomerang reports that he uses a bicycle which allows him to break with his right knee and steer using a cuff attached to the handlebars.

Picard will also stop in Riverton, Grand Teton National Park before heading to Idaho Saturday.

MISSING WYOMING HIKER

Wyo. search resumes for Colo. Sen. Udall’s brother

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A wilderness search for James “Randy” Udall, whose family is well-known in Western politics, continued Tuesday with no sign of the environmentalist and energy efficiency advocate overdue almost a week from a solo backpacking trip in the shadow of Wyoming’s highest mountain.

Udall is a brother of Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, cousin of New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, and son of the late Arizona Rep. Morris “Mo” Udall. His uncle, Stewart Udall, was Interior secretary in the 1960s.

Dozens of searchers on the ground and in two helicopters were looking for Udall in a 225-square-mile area of the Wind River Range southwest of 13,809-foot Gannett Peak.

Udall left June 20 from a trailhead 10 miles northwest of Pinedale in western Wyoming. He was due back last Wednesday. The search for him began Friday, the day he was reported missing.

The Wind River Range sprawls 100 miles southeast of the Yellowstone ecosystem and jags the horizon of the nearby sagebrush country like saw teeth.

WILDFIRES-MILITARY TANKERS

4 military air tankers moving from Colo. to Ariz.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Four military firefighting planes are being moved to Arizona from Colorado.

The National Interagency Fire Center says all four C-130s will be stationed at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport by Wednesday and ready to drop slurry on fires.

The planes were mobilized last month to fight fires in southern Colorado, including one that destroyed over 500 homes and killed two people, because all the U.S. Forest Service’s tankers were in use.

There are a total of eight C-130s equipped with a large device called the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or MAFFS, that can deploy up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant or water at a time.

The other planes are operated by Air National Guard units in North Carolina and Wyoming. Fire managers say they can be called on if needed.

FIREFIGHTERS KILLED-BUDGET CUTS

Budget cuts trim federal wildfire spending

WASHINGTON (AP) — This year’s across-the-board budget cuts mean that federal wildfire fighting efforts are losing millions of dollars, even as many officials say the prolonged Western drought means this could be a busy year for battling such blazes.

The U.S. Forest Service’s $2 billion-a-year firefighting budget — the government’s biggest — has been cut by 5 percent. Agency officials say that has meant 500 fewer firefighters and 50 fewer fire engines than last year.

The Interior Department’s $37.5 million reduction has meant 100 fewer seasonal firefighter jobs. Department officials say some are being hired for shorter time periods to save money.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told Congress last month that the cuts are reducing the government’s ability to respond to wildfires.

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