UPDATE: Lightning Starts Massive Wildfire In Washakie, Big Horn Counties
Lightning started two wildland fires in northcentral Wyoming on Sunday night and merged into a blaze that has burn over an estimated 73 square miles as of Monday evening.
This is an update from the Big Horn County Sheriff's Office.
Please heed the precautions, especially about road closures, because this is much more dangerous than previously reported earlier Monday.
The wildfires between Ten Sleep and Hyattville on the Big Horn County Line are actively flaring up and beginning to cross the road in various locations. At 7 a.m.the fires had burned 10,000 acres. As of 7 p.m. it is burning over about 47,000 acres, or 73 square miles.
As stated earlier, the fires were started by several lightening strikes in the area. As a result this has caused a patchwork burning effect that is not consistent with a regular fire line. As a result people traveling in that area could find themselves rapidly and unpredictably, dangerously isolated because of the unpredictable fire pattern.
Slurry air bomber assets have been called in and will be deployed to protect various residential and agriculture assets being threatened at this time.
For this reason an emergency closure of Wyoming Highway 31 from Manderson to Hyattville is in place. Only local traffic checking in at the road blocks will be allowed to pass through after showing proof of land ownership.
Other road closures of county roadways are currently in effect. Anyone not needing to travel this area needs to stay away for their own safety.
We appreciate the cooperation of local residents and out of area travelers. The roads will open again as soon as safe travel is possible.
Dubbed the Terek fire, it is northeast of Worland, north of U.S. Highway 16 and south of Wyoming Highway 31, said Cindy Wertz of the Cheyenne office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
"It's mostly sage brush and grass at this moment," Wertz said earlier Monday.
The fire, which started on BLM land, had not burned any structures or caused any injuries by that time, she said.
"The one problem is it's very hot temperatures and very low humidity, so that's causing really difficult fire conditions," she said.
Despite the remote area, local, state and federal agencies are aggressively attacking the fire and not letting it burn, Wertz said. "We have hand crews as well as four single-engine tankers, two heavy-air tankers and three helicopters that are working the fire."
The BLM and other agencies will not be able to assess the containment until Tuesday morning, she said.
Wertz urged people to not go near the fire for their own safety and the safety of the firefighters, and to not fly drones in the area, she said. "If you fly drones, we can't fly our aircraft."
Meanwhile, the 33.3-square-mile Badger Creek fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest near the Colorado border is now 90 percent contained.