By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A wildfire that was started last week in Medicine Bow National Forest has grown another 200 acres, burning almost 700 acres of land within the forest, fire officials told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.
Tim Jones, the Sugarloaf Fire command team’s public information officer, said fire activity has been a little more moderate since the weekend.
“The firing operation on the west side of the fire has been successful, we’ve had no issues with the fire getting over the containment lines today,” Jones said.
The fire has a 19% containment rate, but the firefighting team of more than 450 people intend to fully suppress the wildfire. Jones said he could not predict when the containment rate might increase.
Firefighters are concerned about increased winds Tuesday night. A group of five fire engines is set to staff the fire overnight to monitor fire activity.
The fire activity on Tuesday was creeping and smoldering, which kept firefighters on guard for potential spot fires from breaking out.
Rapidly changing weather conditions in northern Albany County have been a mixed bag when it comes to the fire activity. High winds mean that the fire could spread, but the steady rain showers have slowed at least some of the fire’s growth.
“The weather conditions are changing quite a bit on us,” Jones said. “The rain showers we’ve seen, some of the fire has received it, some of it has not. We’ve had moisture of some form on the fire over the last three days, but it has not been enough to put the fire out.”
Fire lines on the west and eastern sides of the wildfire have been established.
Around 10 residences were evacuated in northern Albany County last week. Jones said the evacuation order has not yet been lifted.
“It’s all about the risk of the fire moving between where it is now and where those homes are,” Jones said. “There is not containment between those two areas right now.”
The Sugarloaf Fire is believed to have been started around noon on July 25. Investigators believe it is human caused, but a fire command team spokesman last week could not say why investigators came to this conclusion.
The fire started near the Cow Creek Trailhead in the forest and is burning about seven miles southwest of Laramie Peak.