UPDATED 9/16: Two Wildfires Blazing In Wyoming; Close To Snow King, Hogadon
UPDATE: 9/16: The Horsethief Canyon Fire by Snow King and the town of Jackson, Wyo. is still being fought while fuel conditions are extremely dry, but it is reported to be 42 percent contained as of Sunday morning. Total burned acreage is now at 3,353, a slight jump over the weekend.
A report on InciWeb notes the plan is to have the fire, which began Sept. 8, contained by Thursday, Sept. 20. This will serve as the final SnoCountry update on the fire, unless things take a turn for the worse. All previous updates and the original story are below.
UPDATE: 9/14: Total acreage burned in the Jackson Hole Horsethief Canyon fire jumped 608 acres to 3,324 acres Thursday (9/13), but better news is containment moved from 15 percent to 36 percent by Friday morning.
Firefighters in Jackson, where the fire is close to Snow King and the Town of Jackson, are now dealing with a dry air mass with low humidity. This is causing increased fire activity. All National Forest land in the Snow King, Cache and Game Creek area remain closed.
The Casper Mountain fire, also in Wyoming near Hogadon Ski Area, is 70 percent contained as of this morning.
SnoCountry.com will continue to update readers on the Horsethief Canyon fire at Snow King as it could still be volatile. But, unless there are major developments in Casper, it appears Hogadon is not at significant risk.
UPDATE (9/13): Progress has been made overnight on both the Horsethief Canyon fire close to Snow King and the Town of Jackson, Wyoming and the Sheepherder fire on Casper Mountain where Hogadon Ski Area is located near Casper, Wyo.
Crews are now "mopping up" the northwest corner of the Horsethief fire -- the area closest to the town of Jackson -- and reports on InciWeb.org say, "the fire line put in to date is effective and is holding strong." Thursday's focus is on the southern perimeter and aviation resources will be the "critical tools." The fire is holding at 2,716 acres, but is now reported 15 percent contained (up from 10 percent yesterday).
The Sheepherder fire on Casper Mt. is reported, again by InciWeb, to be 50 percent contained (it, too was just 10 percent contained yesterday) and has burned 15,416 acres. As we reported Wednesday, that fire is on the east side of the mountain and is not an immediate threat to Hogadon.
SnoCountry.com will update this story again Friday morning or sooner if conditions warrant.
UPDATE (9/12): The Horsethief Fire in Jackson Hole, Wyoming near Snow King is holding steady Wednesday morning at 2,716 acres. Weather cooperated yesterday with high relative humidity and cloud cover.
Firefighting personnel on hand has increased to 300. However, the fire remains only 10 percent contained.
Meanwhile, a second, larger Wyoming wildfire on Casper Mountain, above Casper, Wyo. is also only 10 percent contained. The Sheepherder fire has consumed seven structures with another 850 threatened. A total of 150 people have been evacuated, with 750 more on evacuation alert.
Casper Mountain is a short drive from the city of Casper and is home to Hogadon Ski Area. A spokesperson for the city, which owns the ski area, told SnoCountry.com Wednesday morning the ski facilities are not "presently threatened by the fire, but that could change if the winds pick up and change." The fire is centered on the east side of Casper Mt., while the small ski area is located on the west side.
Stay with SnoCounty.com and we will continue to update this story as news develops.
ORIGINAL STORY (9/11)
Another Western wildfire – this one apparently human-caused – is honing in on Snow King, the historic Jackson Hole town ski hill. The fire that began over the weekend has grown to 2,700 acres as of Tuesday morning (9/11).
Snow King is located just six blocks from Jackson’s Town Square and has been in operation since 1939. Teton Village, where the destination resort of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is located, is about 15 miles away and is not affected.
Firefighters told more than 500 local residents Monday night that the blaze was contained along 10 percent of its border, and part of the fire is very close to the “management action point” triggering evacuation orders.
Incident commander Chuck Ourada told concerned locals, “If the fight goes well, it will be at least three days, possibly five, before the risk of losing structures passes.”
InciWeb.org reported Tuesday morning the blaze, dubbed the Horsethief Fire, has been pushed by high winds and grew by 600 acres Monday. Efforts have been focused on the north and west flanks of the fire with hand suppression work and aircraft dropping fire retardant.
Energies are now focused on the northwest flank of the fire that includes communications infrastructure on the east end of Snow King. Additional resources have been requested.
There are closures. The Bridger-Teton National Forest has closed the Cache Creek-Game Creek loop and all areas within the loop to the Forest boundary. All trails leading to the top of the ski area are closed. The chairlift is not operating. Highway 89 remains open and drivers are advised simply to keep moving.
Note: This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
Photo: Horsethief Canyon Fire view from Town of Jackson, Wyoming (Inciweb.org)