BREAKING: Wildfire Triples In Size

By on July 19, 2016

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Firefighters continue to battle the Cliff Creek fire that tripled in size yesterday. A Type 2 Incident Management Team is in place, headed by commander Tony DeMasters. Great Basin Team 7 assumed command of the blaze early this morning.

The wildfire is now estimated at 6,700 acres with 0 percent containment achieved so far. A total of 300 firefighters are currently assigned to the fire, including four crews, four engines, two Type 1 helicopters, and two Type 3 helicopters.

The rugged terrain allows for little ground work. Most of the ground personnel are committed to protecting structures in the Granite Creek drainage, where a mandatory evacuation order was given yesterday. Additional support was assigned to bolstering structures in Bondurant should winds shift and send the flames back south toward the small community.  Aerial support on the ridge of Deer Mountain was unsuccessful in keeping the blaze from jumping over that ridgeline and into Granite Creek.

Teams are briefed each morning.

Teams are briefed each morning.

The weather forecast through the week and into the weekend couldn’t be much worse. Hot, dry and breezy conditions will prevail. One aspect worries fire managers, though. The typical jet stream blows out of the southwest, moving the fire to the north and northeast. That trajectory pushes the fire toward Antoinette and Pyramid peaks where it will eventually run out of fuel above timberline.

However, some weather forecast models call for winds out of the southeast in the coming days. Such a scenario could coax the blaze toward Cache Creek if firefighters are unable to slow it down in the coming days. A wildfire in the Cache Creek drainage would funnel straight toward the town of Jackson.

“I’m 100 percent certain they have been discussing the scenario, every scenario,” PIO Ronda Bishop said.

Helitack crews scoop water from nearby Hoback River and can make more than a dozens dumps per hour.

Helitack crews scoop water from nearby Hoback River and can make more than a dozens dumps per hour.

Highway 89/191 remains closed between Stinking Springs (5 miles south of Hoback Junction) and Daniel. Upcoming meetings have been scheduled to keep the public informed. The first is tomorrow night, July 20 at 6 p.m. at the Bondurant School. A Thursday night meeting is scheduled at the Hoback fire station.

Cliff Creek Fire updates are now available via Nixle. Sign up by texting the word TETONCLIFFCR to 888777 to register. The American Red Cross of Wyoming is assisting those ordered to evacuate with shelter or other needs. Evacuees learn more by calling the Red Cross at (307) 222-8272.

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