By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
A wildfire burning west of Cody forced the temporary closure of the highway between Cody and Yellowstone National Park over the weekend.
The Lost Creek Fire, first reported Saturday afternoon about midway between Cody and Yellowstone, reduced visibility on U.S. Highway 14 to the point it had to be closed, said Kristie Salzmann, the fire’s public information officer.
“As the smoke was really impeding traffic,” she explains, “Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Highway Patrol just thought that would be the smartest thing to do to allow for safe firefighting access.”
The response by fire officials was swift – by Sunday morning, 89 people were already assigned to the incident.
“That includes two of our type 1 hand crews, also known as Hot Shot crews,” Salzmann details. “We have multiple fire engines from local units, as well as Forest Service, BLM and county. We have two heavy air tankers, three single engine air tankers, and then we also have two of our larger type one helicopters and then a smaller type three helicopter.”
Salzmann points out that the fire settled down some Saturday night after growing to about 591 acres, but conditions were expected to be a bit more favorable for battling the flames on Sunday.
InciWeb, a website that tracks wildfires around the nation, said minimal fire activity was seen Sunday.
“We know that the forecasted winds are less than yesterday and the forecasted temperature is less than yesterday, so while we do expect there to be some growth, we’re just uncertain how much that will be today.”
According to officials, at this time, no structures are threatened, although evacuations did take place at two nearby dude ranches on Saturday. Fire managers are continuing to keep the public informed of any major developments.