UPDATE: Cliff Creek Fire Keeps Highway To Jackson Closed; Forest Service Reports Other Blazes
The Cliff Creek Fire in the Bridger-Teton National Forest burned more than another square mile since Tuesday, and is projected to grow even more, according to the latest incident report from the U.S. Forest Service.
The Forest Service also is fighting seven other fires in Wyoming, three of which started since Monday.
The USFS expects hot, dry and windy conditions to aggravate efforts to fight all these fires.
The Cliff Creek Fire is still forcing the closure of U.S. Highway 191/189 between Daniel Junction to Hoback Junction.
The 40-mile section of highway is a popular road for travel from southwestern Wyoming to Jackson Hole, and the USFS noted that in its report Wednesday. "Hwy 191 closure continues to be a significant impact to local communities and regional traffic."
Since Tuesday, the fire grew nearly 1,000 acres to 7,671 acres -- 12 square miles -- from 6,700 acres.
The number of firefighters and other personnel on the scene also grew to 464 from 300 on Tuesday.
The evacuation and closure of roads, trails and campgrounds in the Granite Creek area remains in effect.
The fire started by a lightning strike about 2:30 p.m. Sunday about five miles north of the rural community of Bondurant in Sublette County. It is burning in thick, heavy timber and is torching groups of trees and moving by tree-top fire runs.
The Cliff Creek Fire is among eight monitored and fought by the USFS. Three are on state forestry lands and one is on Forest Service land. They are either 100 percent or 90 percent contained.
Besides the Cliff Creek Fire, three more are new and growing.
- The largest one as of Wednesday is the Lava Mountain Fire, which started by lightning on Monday and has burned 598 acres so far in the Shoshone National Forest northeast of Dubois. The fire is burning heavy timber and logging slash. Embers are expected to create spot fires as far away as a quarter mile from the main fire. There are 261 firefighters and other personnel on the scene to work with landowners to protect property.
- The Arden Fire in the Bighorn National Forest was discovered Tuesday about 35 miles east of Greybull near the Shell Reservoir. Its origin has not been determined. The Arden Fire has burned 350 acres in heavy timber. It is being actively suppressed by constructing handlines and conducting burnout operations.
- The Shoshone Lake Fire in the Shoshone National Forest was discovered Tuesday and its origin is unknown. It has burned 57 acres in a remote timbered area and currently poses no threat to structures. Firefighting personnel will need to be ferried in by helicopter.
The 2.4-million acre Shoshone National Forest was America's first national forest.
The regional office of the U.S. Forest Service will conduct a community meeting about the Cliff Creek Fire at the Bondurant School at 6 p.m. today, Wednesday, July 20.
The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the Pinedale High School Wrangler Gym, 655 N. Tyler St., in Pinedale for those who have been evacuated because of the Cliff Creek Fire.