Federal officials have issued a hazard alert aimed at protecting workers at hydraulic fracturing operations from silica exposure. Hydraulic fracturing involves blasting rock with water, sand and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas. Crystalline silica is part of sand. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say workers who regularly breathe it are at greater risk of developing silicosis.
Anticipating a return of hot, dry, windy weather by this weekend, firefighters worked Thursday to build lines around a wildfire in the Medicine Bow National Forest in east-central Wyoming. The Russell's Camp fire is located about 30 miles south of Glenrock and has burned just over 4 square miles since Sunday. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity on Wednesday lessened fire intensity, allowing firefighters to gain 5% containment. But the fire was more active Thursday with warmer temperatures. The number of firefighters on the scene has increased to 385 with the addition for more highly trained crews. They are aided by five helicopters. Elsewhere in the state, all of Teton County, including Grand Teton National Park, in northwest Wyoming has been elevated to a high fire danger rating.