Pedro Mountain wildfire reaches 12,000 acres
While most of Wyoming’s wet spring and summer has yielded a green landscape far later than is the norm, the ample green grasses are quickly turning into dangerous fuel for wildfires. Wyoming’s only current wildfire, at more than 12,000 acres burning as of Thursday, is nestled in the rough terrain of Pedro Mountain at only 10 percent containment.
The fire near Alcova, Wyoming, was started due to a lightning strike in the early afternoon of Aug. 24. Nearly 300 personnel, including hot shot crews, 34 engines, four bulldozers, eight aerial resources, and five water tenders are on the fire hoping to prevent more structural damage. Four buildings have already been consumed, ranging from permanent or seasonal homes or outbuildings.
Evacuations have been assigned to Pedro Mountain Estates, Pedro Mountain Ranch Road, and Cardwell Ranch. Natrona Country Road 407/Carbon County Road 291 is closed from the intersection of Natrona County Road 408 south to Leo/Sage Creek until further notice. The closure includes all roads west of the above location to Pathfinder Reservoir.
Crews had a slight break in the weather early in the week, said Lori Iverson, a spokesperson for the Pedro Mountain Fire, which allowed work along the north border of the fire, significant burn out in some of the vegetation ahead of the fire, as well as structure protection. Thursday brings red flag warnings once more, with erratic winds and high temperatures containing low humidity.
“They’re trying to get the fire to come down out of the higher elevation, where it will hit the flat grass and sage area,” Iverson said. “It’s safer to fight there.”
When a fire burns in the timber and is suppressed there, it can smolder for weeks, which creates the risk of a flare up from heavy winds. By removing the fire from heavy timber and allowing it to burn lighter fuel such as grass and brush, it poses less threat for the coming weeks.
All needs have been met for the crews working on the Pedro Mountain Fire, but Iverson recommends reaching out to local fire department to see if they have requests for those who wish to help.
“We really appreciate the support from the local departments around the state and the communities who donate,” she said.
The greatest help, Iverson said, is to prevent fires as the heat rises and grasses dry this Labor Day weekend. She recommends being vigilant with any sources of ignition, putting out campfires fully until they’re cool to the touch, being mindful when parking on dry grass, respecting fire bans, and being careful while target shooting.