By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily
Almost 120 firefighters from multiple agencies were battling a 3,000-acre fire burning in three counties of northeast Wyoming on Wednesday.
Rough terrain, wind and unseasonably warm temperatures continued to hinder the efforts of firefighters to contain the Deer Creek 2 fire centered in western Campbell County.
The fire is burning 30 miles west of Gillette, but has crossed into Johnson and Sheridan counties. Officials believe it was started Monday by a burning coal seam that surfaced and began burning dry fuel, according to Melanie Wilmer, emergency response coordinator assigned to the fire.
Given the remote location of the fire and difficult terrain, the fire has been labeled a type-3 incident, meaning it has surpassed the resources of the Campbell County Fire Department, allowing for other agencies to help.
Campbell County is being assisted by firefighters from Sheridan and Johnson counties, as well as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Wilmer said firefighters on the scene were being aided by bulldozers, fire engines, helicopters and several tractors equipped with blades.
The terrain is mostly sage, juniper and grass and is in a desolate area where no structures are threatened or roads closed. Campbell County is currently under a heat advisory with temperatures expected to reach the high 90s.
The area is also under an air quality alert.
However, the air quality alert is the result of smoke in the skies over Campbell County from fires on the West Coast, Wilmer said, not the Deer Creek 2 fire.