52 major wildfires burning on about 900,000 acres across the West
A hillside explodes into flames on the Arapaho Fire in Wyoming. Photo courtesy USFS.
A smoke plume rises from the fast-growing Arapaho Fire in Wyoming. Photo courtesy T. Moxham/USFS.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Even as firefighters gain control of the large and destructive fires in Colorado, large wildfires continue to burn around the West, including Wyoming, where the Arapaho Fire, on the Medicine Bow National Forest and Thunder Basin National Grassland, blew up to 75,000 acres Sunday.
The fire, between Casper and Laramie, has destroyed an undetermined number of structures and burned so fiercely Sunday that it created its own weather. Firefighters focused on structure protection in the Harris Park subdivision to try prevent additional damage to residential areas.
Driven by winds and fueled by the same dry conditions that contributed to the recent Colorado infernos, the Arapaho Fire showed extreme behavior Sunday, at times growing at the rate of 1 mph. Firefighters are concerned that it could become a monster fire if it becomes established in the Friend Creek Drainage.
More than 500 firefighters are already trying to contain the fire, with an incoming Type 1 management team slated to take over command. The Arapaho Fire is burning in dense, dry forest, with plenty of beetle-killed timber and down, dead fuels.
Also in Wyoming, the 45,000-acre Fontenelle Fire has been growing about 4,000 acres per day. According to the latest update, large fire growth continues to place substantial strain on helium plant construction (delaying contributions to the nation’s critical helium supply and employment of 300-plus construction workers), as well as oil and gas production.
More on Wyoming wildfires here. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, forest fires, public lands, Travel, West, wildfires | Tagged: Arapahoe Fire, Colorado, Fontenelle Fire, Montana, National Interagency Fire Center, Seeley Fire, Utah, Wyoming | Leave a comment »