Talking Points—Little Venus Fire—7-19-2006
For the latest information, go to http://inciweb.org/incident/260/ or call 578-1283


About the Fire…

 Fire size increased dramatically to the northeast yesterday afternoon due to high winds low relative humidity’s and high temperatures

 Fire size is now estimated at 10,000 acres

 Holding actions were taking place, including helicopter water drops, prior to the fire making its major run

 Winds became too gusty for helicopters so air operations were cancelled

 The fire is now in a suppression mode

 Additional resources are on the way; Smith’s Type-II team may be here by 7/20/06

 Suppression activities will be taken to keep the fire within the Forest boundary

 Structure protection is in place for ranches near the fire

About the crew…

 With the worsening conditions a ground crew found itself in harms way

 Firefighting is inherently dangerous work

 Firefighters are highly trained to deal with risk situations

 The crew followed prescribed safety rules and all are safe and well

 The forest and region will review the incident

 Public and firefighter safety is our highest priority

 Shelter deployments are rare events

These talking points may change as the fire situation changes.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RED FLAG WINDS PUSH LITTLE VENUS FIRE

CODY, Wyo., July 19, 2006—The Little Venus Fire dramatically increased to about 10,000 acres yesterday due to erratic winds, low humidity, high temperature, and beetle-killed trees.

Because of the gusty winds, the two helicopters capable of delivering water drops that would slow the fire’s progress were grounded.
A crew of firefighters walking into the Little Venus Fire area found themselves in harm’s way when the fire burned down the Greybull River. The blaze moved so quickly through the dry fuels that they used their fire shelters for protection.

The crew followed prescribed safety rules. They are well and will debrief with fire managers today. The incident will be reviewed by Forest Service officials.

The fire’s northeast path took the fire toward nearby ranches so several city, county, and federal engines initiated structure protection procedures. They continued to protect the private structures into the night.

“Little Venus Fire has crossed a critical management action point but remains on the forest. We have begun suppression activities,” said Mark Giacoletto, fire management officer for the Shoshone National Forest.

Weary firefighters will soon have relief because more resources are on the way. An incident management team from California is expected to arrive later today to oversee the fire. This will enable local firefighters to concentrate on protecting the rest of the forest.
For the latest information on the Little Venus Fire, visit the fire’s website, www.inciweb.org or contact the fire information office at (307)578-1267.

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Little Venus Fire Shelter Deployment
Communication Fact Sheet


On July 18, 2006, a 10-person fire use module deployed fire shelters on the Little Venus Fire burning in a Shoshone National Forest wilderness southwest of Cody, Wyoming. Eight of the crew were from the BLM Unaweep Fire Use Module (Grand Junction), and two were Payette NF employees. They were all safely evacuated with no burn injuries, treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital, and released in good condition.

Fire Situation

The Little Venus fire transitioned from wildland fire use to a wildfire on July 18 because it hit various triggers (rapid spread due to weather, maximum management area boundary exceeded, fire shelters deployed). Its size is estimated at 10,000 acres. A Type II incident management team is on order, will arrive July 20, and will manage the fire under a confinement strategy.

Fire Review

A review team is enroute to the forest to investigate the shelter deployment and will be briefed in Cody this afternoon. The team consists of Maribeth Gustafson (leader), Ted Moore, Carlos Pinto, Steve Holdsambeck (R4), Tim Foley (BLM Grand Junction), and Tom Zimmerman (R3).

Regional Communication

Paul Langowski (work 303-275-5307, cell 720-272-6663) is the R2 clearinghouse for all information requests. Paul will also be the lead contact for fire use issues. Dave Clement will be the lead contact for operation and safety issues.

Local Communication

Steve Till (BLM retired, office 307-578-1283, cell 307-621-0050) is the PIO on this incident as part of the Type III team working out of the Shoshone SO. He sent a news release this morning. He will keep our offer (to send one of us up to Cody to help with information) in mind. More PIO resources will arrive July 20 with the Type II team.