Lightning Ignites Grass Fire North of Gillette, Burns 275 Acres

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A 273-acre grass fire in a small town north of Gillette over the weekend was caused by lightning, officials said Sunday.

On Saturday morning, Campbell County firefighters responded to a home in Weston for a timber fire. The fire involved about 3.7 square miles of private land.

Lightning from a passing storm the previous night caused the fire, which was fully contained as of Sunday night. Nearly 60 firefighters helped battle the fire, including firefighters from Campbell County, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Tatanka Hotshots, with assistance provided by the Wyoming State Forestry Division’s helicopter.

Landowners and volunteers were also on site all day Saturday to assist with firefighting efforts.

Firefighters remained on the scene Monday to ensure the fire was under control.

In late April, Wyoming State Forestry Division’s fire management officer told Cowboy State Daily that the state’s fire outlook for the 2021 season wasn’t good.

However, Anthony Schultz did offer the caveat that while the outlook seemed bad to start the spring and summer season, there was a possibility nature could change its course and provide a rainy summer.

“Around 2017 or 2018, we were looking to have a pretty active fire season, but we ended up getting a lot of rain into June and July, so the fire season was muted,” he said. “It wasn’t something heavily predicted, so we weren’t really expecting it.”

The fire season in Wyoming usually begins around June, but is at its most dangerous in July and August, Schultz said, with fire restrictions across the state usually being fully lifted by the fall.

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