Cliff Creek, Lava Mountain, Hatchery Blazes Grew Over The Weekend; Nearly 1,600 Firefighters On Scene
Adverse weather conditions will affect growing wildfires on public lands in central Wyoming, according to the National Weather Service, the U.S. Forest Service and other authorities.
The warm, dry weather has affected the largest one, the lightning-caused Cliff Creek Fire in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, according to the U.S. Forest Service website InciWeb.
It was discovered on July 17, and has grown to 14,629 acres, or nearly 23 square miles as of Monday morning. That's a 28 percent increase from 11,534 acres, or 18 square miles, since Friday.
U.S. Highway 191-189 from Daniel to Hoback Junction -- a heavily traveled route from southwestern Wyoming to Jackson -- reopened Friday. For the safety of the firefighters and travelers, however, no passing is allowed in passing zones and no stopping along the roadway or parking in pullouts is allowed.
The U.S. Forest Service and other agencies have dispatched 663 firefighting personnel in 17 crews using four heavy helicopters, one medium helicopter and three light helicopters, 26 engines and one bulldozer.
On Sunday, firefighters began a several-day operation to use controlled burns to consume fuel between the operations lines and the fire.
The Cliff Creek Fire is among nine monitored by the U.S. Forest Service in Wyoming. The four that are contained are on state forestry lands and Forest Service land.
The most recent of the new fires began Friday and grew quickly.
The Hatchery Fire was discovered northeast of Ten Sleep on Friday afternoon and by 6 p.m., it was estimated to have grown to 2,600 acres, or four square miles, but infrared flights indicated it was 2,733 acres. The fire began on private land and moved on lands administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management-Worland Field Office, and the Bighorn National Forest.
Saturday, authorities closed U.S. Highway 16 from Wyoming Highway 435 to the Sheep Mountain Road in the Bighorn Mountains. Pilot cars are allowing one-way traffic, but travelers should expect delays up to 90 minutes. However, fire operations may close the road at any time, so travelers should find alternate routes.
The fire, which started from unknown origins, is growing slowly. There are 301 firefighting personnel on scene.
Besides the Cliff Creek and Hatchery fires, three others started last week.
- The lightning-caused Lava Mountain Fire has grown to 5,488 acres, or 8.6 square miles, in the Shoshone National Forest northeast of Dubois. It is 0 percent contained. There are 492 firefighting personnel in 13 crews with seven helicopters, two water tenders, one bulldozer, 29 engines, and on skidgen. Residents in the area should be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. U.S. Highway 26 remains open with a no-stopping zone near the fire.
- The Arden Fire in the Bighorn National Forest was discovered Tuesday about 35 miles east of Greybull near the Shell Reservoir. It has burned 553 acres in heavy timber. It is growing slowly and has been 40 percent contained. There are 133 firefighting personnel on scene.
- The Shoshone Lake Fire in the Shoshone National Forest was discovered Tuesday and its origin is unknown. It has burned 38 acres in a remote timbered area. It has been contained and crews have moved.