Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

Eclipse hotline in the works


by Cindy Glasson

With the total solar eclipse just eight weeks away, things are moving along smoothly with the planning committee.

Hot Springs County Emergency Management coordinator, Bill Gordon, says they have all the preliminary work done on a separate “hotline” number that will be used in conjunction with 9-1-1 services through the week preceding the eclipse.

The hotline number will be staffed by volunteers from the Thursday prior to the eclipse until the Tuesday after to handle any non-emergency questions. If you would like to be a volunteer on the hotline, please contact Gordon at 864-4649.

A list is being compiled of possible questions visitors might ask upon calling the hotline number and a series of answers to those questions so volunteers would have a script to go by when answering questions.

Those manning the hotline will be at the firehall. The firehall has county phone lines coming into it, so if someone calls the hotline with something that is an actual emergency, they can be immediately transferred to 9-1-1. The line can be used the other way, too, if someone calls and doesn’t have an actual emergency.

Volunteer fireman, James Coates, is having a communications meeting with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, life flight and other emergency agencies to set up a communications structure that will include state, local and federal agencies.

Some have wondered how in the world there could be between 4,000 and 6,000 people expected in Hot Springs County for the event.

Chamber Director, MeriAnn Rush said she has been getting lots of phone calls from people that are staying in Cody or Worland, but are driving down to Thermopolis for the day.

The number of people who will actually be here for the eclipse are not all necessarily staying here, but will be “day tripping” to town for the day, meaning they will be looking for meals and other things to do while they’re here.

It could also mean congested traffic both inside the town limits and the roads coming into Thermopolis. The canyon, in particular, could be a real issue.

Although there are just a few hotel rooms left in town, people are still looking for somewhere to stay.

Eagle RV made arrangements with an adjoining landowner to create an additional 50 campsites for dry camping and they are already booked solid.

The El Rancho Motel has decided to open up a portion of their property to dry camping as well, and will probably be full before they know it.

A final public meeting for the eclipse will be held at the Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center on Monday, July 24 at 6 p.m.


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