Amid more strong wind, new burst for Colorado’s biggest fire
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — More strong wind is worsening the biggest wildfire in Colorado history. Officials have expanded the evacuation zone for the Cameron Peak Fire to include U.S. Highway 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon east of Rocky Mountain National Park. Firefighters say they’ll do their best to keep the fire away from the mountain communities of Drake and Glen Haven. Winds up to 70 mph are forecast through Saturday. The 260-square-mile fire set Colorado’s size record after winds Tuesday night and Wednesday morning caused it to grow by more than 40 square miles. Firefighters are also watching a windy forecast at the Mullen Fire on the Colorado-Wyoming line.
Wyoming university reports 7 sorority students with COVID-19
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming announced Thursday that seven students in a sorority house have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Casper Star-Tribune reported that members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority who tested positive for COVID-19 were put in isolation, while those who had close contact were told to quarantine. It is unclear how many students were asked to shelter-in-place or quarantine. Officials say other members who live in the house and were not in close contact are still allowed to attend in-person classes, work and participate in religious activities. The announcement came as the university is increasing COVID-19 testing procedures.
WMC reports record hospitalizations for the coronavirus
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Medical Center has reported that 21 of the facility’s 149 patients are being treated for the coronavirus, a record number for the state’s largest hospital. The figure as of Wednesday has forced the facility to divert patients from outside the county unless they are suffering from heart attacks, strokes or traumatic injuries. The hospital was also forced to hold 17 patients in its emergency room because of a lack of space. Hospitalizations have increased across Wyoming. The state reported on Oct. 8 an all-time high in one day of 56 hospitalizations due to the virus. As recently as early September, 13 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus.
Winds push Colorado wildfire to largest in state history
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — One of two Rocky Mountain wildfires that have been pushed by strong winds has become the largest in Colorado’s history. The Cameron Peak Fire has burned 256 square miles in northern Colorado as of Thursday. That’s about 40 square miles bigger than one in western Colorado that held the previous record and was fully contained Sept. 15. Meanwhile, the Mullen Fire in southeastern Wyoming and northern Colorado has burned 276 square miles. Forecasters expect dry air and strong wind to pose a challenge for firefighters into the weekend. The burning is occurring much later in the year than usual.
Bankers survey sees surge in rural parts of 10 states
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A majority of bankers surveyed in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states are showing more enthusiasm for the state of their local economies than they have since the coronavirus pandemic began. The Rural Mainstreet Survey’s overall index surged to 53.2 in October, up from 46.9. in September and well ahead of the 35.5 reading in March, when the index bottomed out as the outbreak began. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 suggests a shrinking economy. Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.
Wyoming oil, gas downturn continues to take toll on economy
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A new report says low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic continue to take a toll on Wyoming’s economy. A global oil price war and the pandemic have caused petroleum operators to halt drilling plans, shut in wells and lay off workers in droves. The Wyoming Economic Analysis Division says only one rig in Wyoming was exploring for oil in Wyoming in September and none was looking for gas. The Casper Star-Tribune reports oil prices in September averaged under $40 per barrel, down 6% from August and too low for many Wyoming producers to profit.