A public information meeting was held Sunday night in Buffalo to update those interested in the situation with the Gilead Fire, burning in the Bighorn National Forest approximately 10 miles NW of Buffalo.
Representatives of the Bighorn National Forest, Johnson County and Incident Command for the fire discussed the current situation and explained what has happened so far and what the plan is for combating the fire.
Firefighters' safety has been the main concern in allowing the fire to burn, but crews have been in the area assessing the situation and establishing a helicopter landing area for emergency evacuations if necessary. Dozer fire lines have been cut between the fire and the HF Bar Ranch and town of Story, and hand crews are expected to begin working the rugged area of the fire itself on Monday.
No evacuations have been ordered, but could come in the area of HF Bar and/or in Story should the fire move and threaten those areas.
Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Marilyn Connelly said Buffalo residents are not threatened, but areas near Piney Creek Road and Wagon Box Road and the area around Story should be prepared in case an evacuation becomes necessary. She suggested residents sign up for Code Red notification through the Johnson County website to help emergency coordinators notify them of any situation.
The fire, as of Sunday afternoon, was at roughly 1,050 acres, according the BHNF officials. There are three helicopters, two dozers, nine engines, one five-person hand crew, one 10-person hand crew, and one water tender for a total of 90 personnel on the fire so far.
Additional resources have been ordered and will be assigned as they become available.
Incident Commander Chuck Russell said weather will probably be what finally puts the fire out, and no one knows when that will happen.
For Johnson County residents to sign up for Code Red, click here: