Rich Denison, Townsquare Media

The emergency dispatch center in Casper has been overwhelmed with people calling 911 with questions about the fire. But when the “Sheep Herder Hill” fire started on Sunday afternoon, several people watched it in its initial stages without calling it in.

Casper resident Jennifer Melvin said she saw the small fire, and was surprised to find out she was the first one to report it.

and so we dialed 911 thinking it had already been reported, of course and actually started to hang up, the operator said ‘no,’ you know, please stay on the line. So, that was the first call, when we got down to where we could see it is when we saw people, gawkers, onlookers taking pictures.”

Melvin said it was frustrating knowing that had some of the onlookers taken the time to call 911 at that time, things might have turned out differently.

you know it was a relatively small brush fire at that time, it looked like it had burned about 30 minutes, folks were parked watching or out at the fires edge, taking pictures and video so that was, that was very disappointing.

She said fire crews began arriving within a few minutes of her call.