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Evacuations ordered as Casper Mountain fire burns; one structure lost
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Evacuations ordered as Casper Mountain fire burns; one structure lost

Residents living in the Rotary Park and Garden Creek Falls areas of Casper Mountain were ordered to evacuate after a fire ignited Saturday afternoon at the base of the mountain.

“(Evacuations) have been ordered for residents and business occupants in the area due to immediate and imminent danger,” Natrona County Emergency Management posted on its Facebook page. “Areas around Rotary Park, Garden Creek Falls, and the surrounding areas should evacuate the area as quickly as safely possible. You will need to travel away from Casper Mountain for safety reasons.”

The evacuation order extended through the Garden Creek loop, up to Davis Way and down to Rotary Park. People in Rotary Park were also ordered to evacuate, Casper Fire-EMS spokesman Eric Christensen said.

An evacuation advisory was issued for the rest of the mountain.

“Do not delay leaving to gather belongings or make efforts to protect your home or business,” the county emergency management office said. “Evacuating immediately not only supports your safety, but also allows emergency crews better access to the area.”

Casper Mountain Fire

A fire ignited Saturday at the base of Casper Mountain.

The wildland fire ignited Saturday afternoon in the Garden Creek area amid hot, dry and windy conditions. At least one structure burned, according to Christensen and photos posted to social media. The structure, a residential home, was completely engulfed, Christensen said. He was unaware of any injuries or if additional structures had been damaged.

A Star-Tribune reporter saw flames burning up the side of the mountain shortly before 4 p.m. It was burning from the east to the southwest, and at its highest elevation was near the tree line. It left a visible black scar over the area.

Casper Mountain fire

A fire burns a home on Casper Mountain on Saturday afternoon.

Christensen said late Saturday afternoon firefighters were still working to contain the fire, which he said was slowly being contained but still had the potential to grow.

Aerial assistance was deployed in the form of an air attack, two planes dropping fire retardant and a helicopter dropping water from a nearby pond.

The helicopter has a return time of two minutes, Christensen said, while the planes carrying the retardant need to reload at the county airport. He estimated those trips take roughly 30 minutes each.

Photos posted on social media show what appears to be at least one home fully engulfed in flames in the Garden Creek area. The Natrona County Fire District described the blaze on its Facebook site as an “active wildland fire with structures involved.”

According to a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper, the fire started shortly before 2 p.m. Authorities blocked off Garden Creek Road as well as Casper Mountain Road at 59th Street and moved people out of the area.

Casper Mountain fire

A fire ignited Saturday at the base of Casper Mountain.

Christensen said Casper firefighters were receiving assistance from practically every neighboring agency, including Mills, Evansville, Casper Mountain and the county fire departments, as well as the Bureau of Land Management and Wyoming Medical Center.

While firefighters were working, the public was advised to avoid Rotary Park and the Bridle Trail.

The hot and dry weather conditions left the entire state of Wyoming under a red flag warning on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service office in Riverton. Temperatures in Casper reached nearly 100 degrees with breezy conditions.

Temperatures are expected to plunge to 65 degrees on Labor Day and 40 on Tuesday, with snow forecast for the area.

Follow local government reporter Morgan Hughes on Twitter @morganhwrites

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Local Government Reporter

Morgan Hughes primarily covers local government. After growing up in rural Wisconsin, she graduated from Marquette University in 2018. She moved to Wyoming shortly after and covered education in Cheyenne before joining the Star-Tribune in May 2019.

Editor

Joshua Wolfson joined the Star-Tribune in 2007, covering crime and health before taking over the arts section in 2013. He also served as managing editor before being named editor in June 2017. He lives in Casper with his wife and their two kids.

Copy Editor

Anna Shaffer works on the Star-Tribune production team as a copy editor. She joined the newspaper in early 2016 after graduating from Casper College. Along with her degree, she picked up a love of film and carting her guitar into the Wyoming backcountry.

Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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