Big Horn Storm takes place in central Wyoming in the Bighorn National forest, which encompasses over one million acres and is home to the Cloud Peak Wilderness. The Big Horn Mountains have elevations ranging from 5,500 feet to over 13,000 feet above sea level, accounting for the diverse vegetation and unpredictable weather. The abundant wildlife, evergreen forests, grass prairies, mountain meadows, rugged peaks, dramatic canyons, cascading waterfalls and overall dramatic geology make the area breathtakingly beautiful and the perfect setting for an action-packed adventure.

Aside from dealing with a deadly group of foreign invaders, an injured old man, no communications and an approaching storm, the characters have an adrenaline-pumping run-in with a bear.  The level of anxiety experienced during a bear encounter is often determined by the subspecies. It’s easy to mistake black bears for grizzly bears when relying on attributes such as color since both can vary from blonde to black. But, there are a few traits that lead to a more accurate identification. A black bear has no shoulder hump, its ears are tall and pointed and its facial profile is straight from nose to ear. The grizzly bear however, has a distinctive shoulder hump, short rounded ears and its facial profile appears dished in. In Wyoming, black bear populations are widespread, whereas grizzlies are primarily found in northwestern Wyoming, but as populations increase and habitat decreases bears will expand their territory and reestablish in historical ranges or in new habitats. Grizzly bears have not inhabited the Bighorn National Forest since the early 20th century, but for the sake of fiction I have hastened the expansion of a solitary grizzly back into the Big Horn Mountains.

Why would foreign invaders care about a remote area in Wyoming? The Minuteman I missile (developed in the 1950s) and later the Minuteman II missiles are intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could be deployed from unstaffed underground silos by crews in launch facilities located miles away. Although many of the ICMBs have been decommissioned, approximately 500 missiles are still scattered throughout the upper Great Plains. The Great Plains comprise a broad expanse of land lying west of the Mississippi and east of the Rocky Mountains. This area covers parts of ten states including Wyoming, the setting for Big Horn Storm, and several Canadian provinces.

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