Fire season ramps up in Wyoming and across western states
Throughout the nation, 81 fires have burned approximately 1,601,740 acres across 12 states as of July 28, according to the National Interagency Fire Agency (NIFC). The NIFC shared elevated to near-critical fire weather conditions are currently forecasted across eastern Montana, northeast Wyoming and the Dakotas into northwestern Minnesota.
In Wyoming, there are a number of fires burning approximately 12,078 combined acres as of July 28.
Approximately 30 miles northeast of Lovell, the Crater Ridge fire has burned 641 acres on the Bighorn National Forest, with zero percent containment. According to NIFC, the fire was ignited July 17, with lightning suspected as the cause.
Another 600-acre fire, the Deer Creek 2 Fire, burns 30 miles northwest of Gillette. This fire, with zero percent containment, is under the direction of the Buffalo Bureau of Land Management Field Office.
Wyoming’s largest fire, the Morgan Creek Fire in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, was reported July 9 and started from lightning strike. While a majority of the fire exists in Colorado, roughly 15 miles north of Steamboat Springs, the fire has spanned 6,555 acres and is currently eight percent contained. Another Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest fire, the Muddy Slide Fire, has burned nearly 4,100 acres and is 70 percent contained.
The Shale Creek Fire, near Kemmerer and east of Hams Fork River, is currently 80 percent contained at 189 acres. The Soda Lake Fire is burning three miles west of the national forest boundary near South Cotton Creek in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Spotted July 27, the fire has reached 80 acres as of July 28 and exhibits active fire behavior.
In Montana, 21 fires are burning approximately 209,308 acres.
A 29,885-acre fire burns just north of the Wyoming border in Montana north of Cody and south of Red Lodge, Mont. The Robertson Draw Fire has been burning since June 13. The human-caused fire is approximately 85 percent contained, though firefighters are remaining vigilant in case of changes in fire behavior and the chance of new fires starting from increased thunderstorm activity. It is expected the Robinson Draw Fire will see an increase in fire activity as hot and dry weather conditions persist.
In Idaho, over 209,308 acres burn on 20 fires.
The Snake River Complex Fire, located 20 miles south of Lewiston, Idaho, has currently burned 108,794 acres and is 87 percent contained. The Dixie Fire, two miles north of Dixie, Idaho, has burned 39,869 acres on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, and the Mud Lick Fire 23 miles west of Salmon, Idaho has burned 19,015 acres on the Salmon-Challis National Forest.
Oregon leads the nation with acres burned, totaling over half a million acres on six fires.
The Bootleg Fire, a major contributor to much of the smoke over the West, has burned 413,400 acres approximately 15 miles northwest of Beatty, Ore. Oregon is also home to the Elbow Creek Fire, burning 22,901 acres, the Jack Fire, burning 22,074 acres and the Lick Creek Fire, totaling 80,392 acres.
In Alaska, six fires have burned a total of 109,010 acres, and two fires in Arizona have burned 442 acres as of July 28. California fires have burned 347,616 acres and two fires in Nevada have burned approximately 68,856 acres.
A total of 1,742 acres on two fires have burned in South Dakota, and NIFC reports one fire in Utah burning 509 acres. In Washington, eight fires have burned a total of 136,758 acres.
Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.