WYOBRASKA – Eastern Wyoming and the Panhandle of Nebraska experienced multiple fires this weekend extending on into the beginning of the week.
A wildfire south of Gering, named the Carter Canyon Fire, continues to burn as of press time.
Four separate wildfires began at around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday south of Gering in the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management area according to a news release from the Scottsbluff Star-Herald.
Emergency Management Director Tim Newman told the Star-Herald lightning was the suspected cause of the fire, but he was unable to confirm the suspicion due to the prematurity of the investigation.
County, state and federal resources were pooled for the fire, including assistance from air tankers to help combat the blaze.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission issued a press release Saturday noting the closure of several areas in efforts to aid firefighters.
“Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Montz Point WMA, and Carter Canyon and Montz Point, both part of Platte River Basin Environments, are closed so firefighters are not hindered by vehicle traffic,” the release said. “These areas are closed to all public access. The public is asked to stay away as area residents may be using the roads to evacuate personal belongings or move livestock to safety.”
While the fires remain in western Nebraska, Goshen County Fire Warden Bill Law expressed the possibility of evacuations in eastern Goshen County. Law told the Telegram he wouldn’t know until the next couple of days whether the Carter Canyon Fire would impact the area.
Smoke from the fires has spread across the area and will continue to spread, according to the U.S. National Weather Service in Cheyenne.
Smoke plumes from western Wyoming, northern Colorado and western Nebraska continue to rise and the area affected by the smoke continues to increase. To view a current graphic regarding the impact of smoke on the area, visit fire.airnow.gov.
As of 4:08 a.m. on Aug. 1, the fire had burned 15,592 acres with 30% containment.
Another in-progress fire remains active near Laramie Peak. The Sugarloaf Fire is currently estimated at 553 acres burned with 19% containment.
The Sugarloaf Fire began Monday, July 25, at approximately 4:14 p.m. and has continued to burn. The cause of this fire is suspected as human-caused.
Going back a couple of days, the Jay Em Fire Department, Lingle Fire Department, Torrington Fire Department, Yoder Fire Department, Veteran Fire Department and Prairie Center Fire Department responded to a grass fire Friday evening around 8 p.m. between Jay Em and Lingle.
Torrington’s Dispatch Center received a call in the evening hours of July 29 indicating a grass fire near mile marker 113 on Highway 85.
Lightning is the suspected cause of the fire, according to Lingle Fire Chief Casey Bangerter.
Lingle firefighters reported seeing lightning striking in the vicinity of the fire as they approached.
“The fire was wind driven in tall sagebrush and dry grasses and at one point was threatening a homestead,” according to the Lingle Fire Facebook page.
Upon becoming aware of the threatened homestead, a dozer was ordered to cut a fire line in an attempt to stop the fire from reaching the homestead.
The dozer line, in cooperation with the local firefighters’ efforts stopped the fire before it reached the homestead.
Agencies operated in the area until around midnight when the fire was fully extinguished.
According to the National Weather Service, there is a high probability for high temperatures, in the 100s, to continue throughout this week. The winds are forecasted between 5-15 mph throughout the week and the humidity is expected to bottom out between 10-15%. These factors create the possibility for fires to start easily and spread rapidly.
Goshen County’s Stage 1 Fire Ban, which took effect July 5, remains in effect. To see the text of the ban, visit goshencounty.org.
Stay tuned to the Telegram and torringtontelegram.com for more on this as it develops.