© 2021 KUNR
An illustrated mountainscape with trees and a broadcast tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Welcome to the new KUNR.org!
Our redesigned website is now live, and you can access the stories and programs you love by toggling through the navigation above or clicking the magnifying glass to open the site’s search bar.
If you have any questions along the way, click here to send us a message or give us a call at 775-682-6300 during business hours.
KUNR Public Radio is a proud partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West.

Wildfires break out in the Mountain West, causing two fatalities

Firefighters constructing handline along the north and east sides of the Kruger Rock Fire in Colorado.
Canyon Lands Ranger
/
Firefighters constructing handline along the north and east sides of the Kruger Rock Fire in Colorado.

News brief

Unseasonable wildfires fueled by high winds over dry ground resulted in two deaths in the Mountain West this week.

In Colorado, the Kruger Rock Fire near Estes Park began early Tuesday when high winds blew a tree onto a powerline, causing it to arc. It spread quickly across steep terrain, thanks to those same strong winds mixed with unusually dry conditions. That night, a single-engine air tanker crashed near the fire, killing the pilot, who was identified Wednesday as Marc Thor Olson

In Wyoming, a wildfire burning near Clark, in Park County, claimed the life of volunteer firefighter Cindy Ruth on Monday, as the Cody Enterprise reported. That fire was also caused when trees got blown into a power line and is now 100 percent contained.

Jerry Parker is the Park County's fire warden. He said the lack of moisture this year makes fires this late in November not at all unusual.

"We used to have a fire season," he said. "And that would usually end towards the end of September, 1st of October. But here recently, in the last few years, fire season seems to be going year-round."

Scientists say warmer fall temperatures and less precipitation are allowing wildfires to burn deeper into fall.

"The fires now are tragic, but they fit the pattern that has significantly increased our fire risk," said Bryan Shuman, a professor at the University of Wyoming who researches climate change. "The combination is terrible and favorable to fire."

According to the U.S. drought monitor, almost all of the Mountain West remains in varying degrees of drought.

Meanwhile, evacuations have been lifted for the Rosebud Fire in Stillwater County, Mont. It broke out late Monday night, and according to the Stillwater Sheriff’s Office, was 15% contained Wednesday afternoon.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2021 Wyoming Public Radio

Related Content