Wyoming’s Wildfire Haze To Lift, Better Hunting Weather On The Way 

Wildfire smoke and mediocre elk hunting in extreme heat persisted in much of Wyoming on Wednesday, but cooler, clear weather should be on the way.

Mark Heinz

September 07, 20223 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

 Much of Wyoming continued to bake under a pall of wildfire smoke from Fremont County, Idaho and Oregon on Wednesday, but that should change soon, a meteorologist said. 

“This is going to be the hottest day,” meteorologist Don Day of Cheyenne told Cowboy State Daily at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Temperatures were expected to hit the 100s in parts of northern Wyoming, and the 90s in many other areas, he said. However, much of the state could see 40-degree plunges by about the same time on Thursday. 

A high-pressure ridge that was parked over Wyoming and the surrounding area was pulling in desert air from the southwest. It was also causing smoke from wildfires to linger, Day said. 

“The air doesn’t circulate. It just gets trapped behind that high-pressure ridge along with the smoke,” he said. 

That included localized smoke in Fremont County from a fire near Fort Washakie on the Wind River Indian Reservation. That fire was at about 300 acres on Wednesday afternoon, Day said. Meanwhile, smoke from wildfires in Idaho and Oregon permeated the air in Laramie, Cheyenne and other areas. 

More information wasn’t available about the Fort Washakie Fire on Wednesday. That fire wasn’t listed on the National Interagency Fire Center’s InciWeb site. That site lists information about significant active wildfires across the United States. 

Cold Front Will ‘Sweep The Smoke Out’ 

The high-pressure ridge was expected to weaken on Thursday. That should make room for a cold front from Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada, Day said. 

“We’re going to go from desert air to cool air from Canada in less than a day,” he said. 

“On Saturday, a strong cold front is going to sweep across the state. It’s going to be like a big broom, and push that smoke out of Wyoming,” he said.   

Happier Hunters 

“Everybody is tired of the heat,” Day said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints, especially from the elk hunters.” 

Many of Wyoming’s bow hunting seasons for elk opened on Sept. 1. Extreme heat can make elk lethargic and prompt them to hide in deep timber. Bow hunters count on early-season elk to be actively in the rut (mating season). That should mean big bulls moving about, “bugling” their challenges to each other – and answering hunters’ calls. 

“Help is on the way,” Day said. From Thursday on, hunters can expect weather more typical of a Wyoming September. That should get the elk herds moving and the bulls bugling again. 

“I think we’re going to see a lot more elk getting bagged over this weekend,” Day said. 

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter