14 forestry crew inmates from the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp in Newcastle and approximately 16 inmate workers from the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton have joined forces with members of the Big Horn and Washakie County Sheriff's Offices, Search and Rescue, the Big Horn Volunteer Fire Department and the Wyoming National Guard to assist with flood relief in the Manderson, Wyoming area, according to a press release from the Wyoming Department of Corrections.
Several ice jams have sent water over the banks of the Big Horn River causing flooding and the evacuation of several homes on Friday morning, March 7, 2014.
Since that time, crews have been building sand bags and doing preventive maintenance around Manderson. By the time they are done an estimated 75,000-100,000 sand bags will have been made and used.
The priority was to get the sand bags placed around the town in an effort to keep flood waters away from homes and the sewer system. The next project in line will be to reinforce the earth levy that is south of town. The dam is a critical part in keeping the river at bay.
So far there has not been any damage to any of the homes, and only one building sustained some flooding damage. A vehicle belonging to the Warden of Wyoming Game and Fish sustained damage when it was hit by an ice jam. "The main issue we are dealing with are ice jams, some that are as big as the front of a truck, and some that are more than a mile long, and the water running underneath them", said Brad Boylan, WHCC Forestry Crew supervisor.
As of Tuesday morning, March 11, the evacuation has been lifted and school was back in session with precautionary measures in place if the need arises to evacuate quickly. Work crews estimate they will be in Manderson until Thursday, March 20, and hope to have the flood waters contained by that time.
The Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp and Wyoming Honor Farm are minimum custody male facilities under the Wyoming Department of Corrections.