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New Fire Starts and Rescues Keep Interagency Helicopter Busy

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Date: August 4, 2013
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

MOOSE, WY —Teton Interagency Helicopter 25 and its crew remained busy following a late night lighting storm last Thursday, August 1. The Interagency ship responded to five new fire starts, four on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and one in Grand Teton National Park, while also assisting on two rescues in Grand Teton National Park.

The helicopter and crew initially responded to the Hatchet Fire on the Bridger-Teton National Forest at about 1:00 p.m. Friday, August 2. Then, just before 3 p.m., Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a report of a 76-year-old male needing assistance in Granite Canyon.

Stewart Gould from Atlanta, Georgia, was hiking down Granite Canyon with a friend when he became debilitated. Gould met up with a crew that was doing work on the nearby Granite patrol cabin and relayed his need for assistance. One of the crew members ran down the canyon where he had cell phone service to call for help since Gould was unable to hike out on his own.

Grand Teton National Park rangers requested the helicopter, which was released from the Hatchet Fire to respond to Lupine Meadows at 4 p.m. Two rangers flew to a landing zone near the Granite patrol cabin; arriving on scene at 4:25 p.m. Gould was flown just after 5 p.m. to Lupine Meadows rescue cache, where he was met by family.

The helicopter left Lupine Meadows to respond to the Packer Creek Fire east of Bondurant, Wyoming on the Bridger-Teton National Forest at the rescue's conclusion. Helicopter 25 remained on the Packer Creek Fire Saturday while also supporting the Green and Kendall Mountain fires on the Forest.

Sunday, August 3 the Interagency ship was released from the Packer Creek Fire to respond to a rescue operation in Grand Teton National Park. Pratip Bhattacharya, 37, of Houston, Texas fell while descending the South Fork of Garnet Canyon Sunday afternoon sustaining an isolated injury that prevented him from hiking any further. Grand Teton National Park rangers responded to the South Fork by helicopter, provided emergency medical care and stabilized Bhattacharya. He was short-hauled from his location to the Lupine Meadows rescue cache where he was transported park ambulance and to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual is suspended below the helicopter on a 100 to 200 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain. Patients are typically flown out via short-haul with a ranger attending to them below the helicopter, as was the case for this rescue. 

At the conclusion of Sunday's rescue the same helicopter flew the Moose Fire located at the upper, west, end of Webb Canyon in Grand Teton National Park to help determine management actions in this extremely remote area. The small fire is being managed for multiple objectives including minimizing impact to the Moose Basin patrol cabin.

The second Interagency contract helicopter is out of the area supporting a fire in Idaho. For more fire information visit www.tetonfires.com. The rescue for Bhattacharya marks the 20thmajor search and rescue this year in Grand Teton National Park.

Did You Know?

Aspen tree bark close-up

Did you know that the bark on Aspen trees looks green because it contains chlorophyll? Aspen bark is photosynthetic, a process that allows a plant to make energy from the sun, and helps the tree flourish during the short growing season.