By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A wildfire broke out in Medicine Bow National Forest near Laramie on Monday and forest officials believe that it was likely caused by humans.
The Sugarloaf Fire started around noon on Monday and had spread to around 400 acres as of Tuesday morning, according to Medicine Bow National Forest officials. Additional fire crews and helicopters arrived onto the scene Tuesday to help with firefighting efforts.
The fire started near the Cow Creek Trailhead in the forest and is burning about seven miles southwest of Laramie Peak.
It was not clear why fire officials believed that Sugarloaf was human caused.
A portion of northern Albany County was evacuated on Monday evening, but it was not immediately clear how many people were asked to leave their homes. Those in the evacuation area were told to gather their important belongings, family members and pets and to leave the area.
It was also not clear when the evacuation order would be lifted.
The Red Cross of Wyoming opened an emergency shelter in Rock River to help those displaced by the fire.
The fire is currently burning timber in a rocky, inaccessible terrain. Firefighting efforts for this particular wildfire include fire jumpers and heavy tankers filled with water.
A new incident command team will assume management of the fire on Wednesday morning, fire officials said. The intent is to fully suppress the fire.
Wyoming has seen an average fire season this year, according to previous reporting by Cowboy State Daily.
Medicine Bow National Forest officials did not immediately return Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Tuesday.
For the Medicine Bow National Forest and Thunder Basin Wilderness Area, U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Aaron Voos previously said his agency is optimistic about the current wildfire season.
“This year, we’ve got some additional out-of-area resources stationed in Colorado,” Voos said. “And, we have (fire) engines and personnel that work for our unit, doing a wide variety of fire prevention tasks.”
Medicine Bow was the spot where the devastating Mullen Fire broke out in September 2020, burning for weeks until it was finally contained in mid-October 2020.