The Louis L'Amour fire in Clark, Wyoming, took the life of one of the community’s own Monday after residents were told to evacuate.
“They have been family to this community for a long time and family to this department,” said Clark Fire Chief Nate Hoffert.
Hoffert was battling the flames of the fire when he heard the news that the wife of one of his crewmembers was in trouble.
“They live on the lower end of Line Creek, which wasn’t threatened at first, and when the fire activity increased like it did, he had called her and told her to evacuate immediately,” Hoffert said.
Intense gusts fueled the flames, changing the direction of the fire’s impact.
“Their driveway out of their property comes up from the river bottom and it’s long, and she was trying to evacuate. We believe, we really have no idea exactly what happened,” said Hoffert.
Hoffert and his team could only piece together what happened to her based off the aftermath of the area.
“We believe she was trying to make it out the driveway and ran into a fire front and tried to turn her car around. From what I saw, it looks like her car got stuck and she must have tried to get out and try and make it back to her house to a safe zone and got overrun by a fire front,” Hoffert said.
The fire was caused by a downed power line. Community members are still trying to pick up the pieces of the aftermath among burned homes, outbuildings, and charred cars.
The Cody Enterprise reports that Jerry Ruth, a volunteer firefighter with the Clark Fire District, confirmed he lost his wife Cindy, age 61, in the fire when she died from smoke inhalation.
Clark is about 35 miles south of Red Lodge: