The Bridger-Teton National Forest invoked a temporary area closure in the Beaver Mountain area adjacent to Wyoming Hwy 189 and the Bryan Flats Guard Station yesterday for its annual helicopter short haul training. The temporary closure is necessary for the protection of public safety during the training due to the hazards associated with low flying helicopters and human external cargo. The closure is effective now through June 11th, and encompasses the west side of Beaver Mountain and areas north of the Willow Creek Trail. Willow Creek Trail and Trailhead however will remain open. In 2015, the U.S. Forest Service launched a short-haul program which involves transporting personnel suspended beneath a helicopter. Short-haul qualified helitack crews’ primary mission will continue to be of support to fire management operations, but if needed they could be diverted to a rescue incident. The USFS plans to only use short-haul when someone has a “life and/or a loss of limb threatening injury or other medical complications that warrant prompt extraction,” or if a conventional rescue operation would expose rescue personnel or patients to a higher degree of risk.
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