Wildfire Coaxed East

By on July 23, 2016

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Tony DeMasters has his orders from forest officials as far as what authorities at Bridger-Teton hope to accomplish with the Cliff Creek Fire. DeMasters is the Incident Commander for the Type 2 team, Great Basin Team 7, that is currently in charge of the fire.

Containment by confinement is the strategy, as firefighters have solidified the unnamed ridge that flanks Granite Creek to the southeast. Helitack bucket drops on the ridge have helped coax the flames more toward the east where the fire continued to see some growth over the past 24 hours.

Spotting has been observed in Riling Draw, as well as Rock Creek, as the flames inch up the Shoal Creek drainage toward Deer Ridge to the north, and House Creek to the east. B-T officials are hoping to steer the fire away from structures and homes in Granite Creek and into wilderness areas toward the ENE where the fire can have some resource benefit, and should eventually run out of fuel as it reaches timberline.

Highway 189/191 has reopened. Motorists are urged to drive with caution through the affected area between Daniel Junction and Stinking Springs. Displaced Bondurant residents have a green light to return to their homes. Granite Creek residents are still under an evacuation order but were allowed to collect some belongings yesterday for a few hours.

The Granite Creek drainage has been ordered closed until further notice by county decree.

Winds are expected to abate somewhat over the course of the weekend and early next week. The forecast calls for sunny and hot days with low humidity, but at least the breeze will slacken and allow for more favorable firefighting efforts. A continued pattern of shifting winds from the SW during the day to winds out of the SE in the evenings will continue to fill the valley with smoke each morning.

DeMasters is calling the fire 10 percent contained. The Cliff Creek Fire has burned an estimated 12,206 acres. A total of 623 personnel are assigned to the blaze including 4 Type I heavy helicopters, 1 Type II medium helicopter, 3 Type III light helicopters, 24 engines and 1 dozer.

An Incident Command Post has been established on the North Fork of Slide Creek.

Other wildfires are starting to pick up throughout the West. A new fire in Wyoming (Hatchery Fire in the Big Horn NF) in addition to the Lava Mountain Fire may soon require additional resources.

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