ONE MAN WAS TAKEN TO WYOMING MEDICAL CENTER ON SUNDAY AFTER HIS MOTORHOME CAUGHT FIRE AND THE BLAZE SPREAD INTO A GRASSY AREA OUTSIDE CASPER.
ACCORDING TO A NATRONA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE INCIDENT REPORT, A DEPUTY WAS PATROLLING IN THE AREA OF SALT CREEK HIGHWAY AND SKYVIEW AT ABO UT 3:30 P.M. AND NOTICED A LARGE AMOUNT OF BLACK SMOKE BLOWING EAST ACROSS THE HIGHWAY.

THE SMOKE WAS EVIDENTLY COMING FROM THE AREA OF FARMER BROTHERS COFFEE.

THE DEPUTY APPROACHED, NOTING SMOKE AND FLAMES COMING FROM A WHITE MOTORHOME BELONGING TO JOHN CAMPBELL. THE MOTORHOME WAS FULLY ENGULFED IN FLAMES, AND CAMPBELL WAS STANDING ABOUT 30 FEET AWAY WITH A GAS CAN.

CAMPBELL, WHOSE HAIR AND SKIN WERE SINGED, TOLD THE DEPUTY THAT HE HAD BEEN WORKING ON HIS MOTORHOME WHEN HE HEARD A "POP" AND SAW FLAMES. HE TRIED TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER TO CONTROL THE BLAZE, BUT THE EXTINGUISHER WAS EMPTY.

THE FIRE BURNED THROUGH AN OVERHEAD POWER LINE AND SPREAD TO NEARBY GRASS, BURNING NORTH AND EAST ALMOST ALL THE WAY TO SALT CREEK. THE POWER LINE WAS ACTIVELY SPARKING WHEN NATRONA COUNTY FIRE UNITS ARRIVED.

CAMPBELL WAS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL FOR EVALUATION AND POSSIBLE SMOKE INHALATION.
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TOM SOLBERG OF PLEASANT HILL, IOWA, WILL BE THE NEW CHIEF OF THE CASPER FIRE-EMS DEPARTMENT.

SOLBERG SAID HE'S VACATIONED IN WYOMING AND HAS FAMILY HERE, AND THOUGHT HE WOULD BE A GOOD FIT.

HE APPLIED AND WAS SELECTED OVER 27 OTHER CANDIDATES.

SOLBERG SAID HE STARTED AS A PARAMEDIC FIREFIGHTER AT AGE 19 AT LEE SUMMIT, MISSOURI, AND WORKED HIS WAY UP THROUGH THE RANKS AND WAS CHIEF THERE FOR NINE YEARS WHEN HE TOOK AN EARLY RETIREMENT AFTER 30 YEARS.

HE RE-ENTERED HIS CAREER IN THE PHOENIX AREA FOR THREE YEARS, TAUGHT FIRE TRAINING AT MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY, AND RETURNED TO PLEASANT HILL FOR FOUR YEARS TO BE NEAR HIS FATHER WHO WAS DEALING WITH CANCER ISSUES.

SOLBERG KNOWS HE'S FOLLOWING A ROUGH TIME AT THE CASPER FIRE-EMS, AFTER FORMER CHIEF KENNETH KING RETIRED EARLY BECAUSE OF USING HIS CITY EMAIL ACCOUNT TO SEND SUGGESTIVE MESSAGES TO WOMEN.

HE SAID SUCH ISSUES AREN'T UNIQUE TO CASPER AND HE LOOKS FORWARD TO BUILDING THE DEPARTMENT AND WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY.

CITY MANAGER CARTER NAPIER WILL FORMALLY INTRODUCE SOLBERG AT A NEWS CONFERENCE AT CITY HALL AT 2 P.M. FRIDAY.
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THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY IS PROVIDING A $2.9 MILLION GRANT TO HELP PAY FOR FLOOD DAMAGE THAT OCCURRED LAST YEAR IN CENTRAL WYOMING.

THE AID WILL GO TO THE RIVERTON VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT FOR PERMANENT RESTORATION OF AN IRRIGATION CANAL AND ASSOCIATED INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WAS DAMAGED IN THE FLOOD.

LAST SPRING'S FLOODING RESULTED IN A PRESIDENTIAL DISASTER DECLARATION FOR FREMONT, PARK AND WASHAKIE COUNTIES AND THE WIND RIVER RESERVATION.

FEMA SAYS A TOTAL OF MORE THAN $5 MILLION HAS BEEN PROVIDED TO ASSIST WYOMING COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY THE DISASTER.
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A NEW REPORT ON WYOMING'S ECONOMY WHICH CAME OUT LAST WEEK SHOWS MORE STEADY IMPROVEMENT. JIM ROBINSON SAYS OIL PRICES OF OVER $60 PER BARREL ARE OBVIOUSLY GOOD NEWS, AS IS THE FACT THAT SALES TAX COLLECTIONS ARE UP BY ALMOST 20 PERCENT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018 COMPARED TO THIS TIME LAST YEAR. BUT EVEN WITH THE GOOD NEWS, ROBINSON SAYS HE DOESN'T THINK THE STATE ECONOMY HAS COMPLETELY RECOVERED YET FROM THE DOWNTURN OF THE LAST FEW YEARS..

ROBINSON SAYS THE NEW REPORT IS THE LATEST INDICATOR OF A GRADUALLY IMPROVING STATE ECONOMY.