Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Ewing/Snell Ranch house is roped off following a Dec. 9 fire that burned the structure to the ground. An investigation following the incident indicates that the fire was caused by convection heat from the building’s boiler heater.

Investigation shows no evidence of arson in Ewing/Snell Ranch house fire

In the early afternoon of Dec. 9, the main house at the Ewing/Snell Ranch in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area caught fire. It was a total loss. 
 
The fire investigation has since been completed and concluded there was no indication of arson. 
 
Based on evidence gathered, the probable cause for the incident was an attic fire produced by convection heat from the boiler heater. 
 
It looked to the investigator that the convection heat passing into the attic warmed the building’s combustible woods and lowered its moisture content to allow for ignition.
 
On Dec. 21, the Ewing/Snell Ranch was reopened to the public. Park staff built a buck and pole fence around the foundation of the house for safety purposes. 
 
While the fire burned hot enough to incinerate the house, there are still wires and other safety hazards within its foundation. For public safety reasons, visitors are asked to not cross the fence. 
 
Park staff would like to thank the public for all of their support and kind words.
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