More firefighting resources and calmer winds are helping the fight against a wildfire near Cody that rapidly grew to about 15 square miles.
The Whit Fire is not contained and is burning on the north and south sides of Sheep Mountain about 15 miles west of Cody. The wildfire was reported Tuesday night and quickly grew to more than 9,600 acres by late Wednesday. The fire’s cause is unknown.
Fire officials say two rural ranch homes and six outbuildings were lost Tuesday and Wednesday. But the fire showed limited activity Thursday as weather conditions improved and more firefighters arrived with two special air tankers.
A news release from the fire’s interagency command team said the fire was very active Wednesday and the new mapping is the result of overnight flights with infrared cameras.
Evacuations remain in place in the areas of Whit Creek Road, Big Hat Ranch, Golden Key Ranch, Simek Ranch and County Road 6NS including Bear Creek subdivision. The Green Creek Trail and Twin Creek Trail areas are closed in the Shoshone National Forest, as is the Bureau of Land Management's Sheep Mountain Trail.
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The fire is burning on BLM, state and private land. Neither the city of Cody or Yellowstone National Park is threatened.
There are 175 people assigned to the fire with three hand crews and 18 engines in addition to command and support personnel. Air support includes seven helicopters and three air attack planes.
Firefighters also continued to make progress on containing several large wildfires across Wyoming.
The Tokewanna Fire south of Mountain View has burned almost 1,300 acres and is about 90 percent contained. Evacuated residents were allowed to return home Wednesday.
The Lava Mountain Fire near Dubois has burned more than 14,000 acres and remains 60 percent contained. Firefighters focused their efforts Thursday on patrolling the fire's edge and mopping up hot spots.
Gusting winds fed the Cliff Creek Fire on Wednesday near Bondurant, and the total burned area stood Thursday at more than 31,100 acres. The fire is 84 percent contained and fire officials reported the lines are holding.