Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Wyoming Wildfire Forces Evacuation Of 300 Homes, 40,000 Acres Scorched




Wyoming wildfire near Grand Teton burns more buildings


A wind-blown wildfire in western Wyoming near Grand Teton National Park has destroyed buildings and forced the evacuation of over 300 homes.
Officials were surveying the damage Monday after the fire flared up in gusty, dry weather and swept through a rural subdivision of about 125 homes on Sunday.
Emergency officials went door to door telling people to leave the small community of Bondurant and nearby areas south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.
Other communities that were under the evacuation order included Rim Ranches, Sgt. Lane, Rim Station, Flying 'A' Ranch to Cline Ranch, Black Butte and the Packer Miner subdivision. 
A 64-mile stretch of US Highway 191 that is one of the gateway routes to the parks was reopened after the 76-square-mile fire forced its temporary closure.
Sublette County Sheriff's Sgt. Travis Bingham said authorities are trying to determine how many homes burned beyond the three that officials identified previously.
The Roosevelt fire has scorched more than 40,000 acres of drought-parched landscape since erupting on September 15 in the Bridger-Teton National Forest about 30 miles south of Jackson.
The fire was 22 per cent contained as of Monday afternoon.  
Hundreds of firefighters battled across steep, forested terrain and bone-dry sagebrush flats to push back flames driven by winds gusting to 50 miles per hour. By September 23, crews had managed to carve containment lines around nearly a quarter of the fire’s perimeter. 
But worsening conditions later prompted the Sublette County sheriff to expand evacuations in rural subdivisions in and around Bondurant, bringing the number of homes affected to about 300. 
Scores of additional residences were placed on standby for evacuation at a moments notice, according to sheriff’s Sergeant Travis Bingham.
He said the blaze was stoked by thick vegetation left desiccated by prolonged drought.
'We haven’t had moisture for weeks, and the winds today were going from 35 to 50 miles per hour. The fire picked it up and ran with it,' he said on Sunday. 
Neither Jackson nor the national parks were expected to be threatened by the blaze.
The cause of the Roosevelt fire was under investigation. It comes at the height of the region’s hunting season and is one of three that have erupted since mid-September in the Bridger-Teton Forest in western Wyoming.
Wildfires have charred more than 7 million acres across the Western United States so far this year. 


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