Strong Wind a Problem at WY Wildfire

Firefighter carrying a ladder

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gusty winds fanned a southeastern Wyoming wildfire Wednesday and firefighters warned the fire could resume spreading rapidly over the next few days.

The fire in Medicine Bow National Forest had burned almost 23 square miles (60 square kilometers), up slightly from when calmer winds and cooler weather brought the flames almost to a halt Monday and Tuesday.

Extreme fire spread like when firefighters had to retreat last weekend could resume. Forecasters predicted low humidity and winds gusting 30 mph (48 kilometers per hours) or more through the rest of this week.

The National Weather Service posted a red flag warning for high fire danger for most of the region between Casper and Cheyenne, including all of Medicine Bow National Forest.

The wildfire has burned most of the Savage Run Wilderness, where it began Sept. 17, and part of the North Platte Wilderness. It has been approaching cabins and Rob Roy Reservoir.

The reservoir and others connected by pipelines supply water to Cheyenne.

Firefighters have had to contend with rugged terrain and dense forest, much of it killed by beetles. They were establishing lines of defense along roads previously cleared of beetle-killed trees on either side so that falling dead trees don’t block the routes.

The area would be popular with deer and elk hunters this time of year but has been evacuated.

Officials were investigating signs the fire was human-caused.

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