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Converse County Fire Continues To Grow [GALLERY]

The Russell’s Camp Fire in southwest Converse County continues to grow and is now estimated at over 2,000 acres.

It has been driven to the north and east by high winds, dry fuels and high temperatures.  The rapid growth of the fire prompted the Converse County Sheriff’s Department to evacuate residents in homes and cabins along Cold Springs Road, which is near the east boundary of the fire.  The effort was successful and an evacuation center has been established in Douglas at the Recreation Center.

The fire is burning primarily in mixed conifer on the Medicine Bow National Forest, as well as on state and private lands.  It is located approximately 32 miles south of Glenrock and has burned north over Buffalo Peak, south of Squaw Mountain and west to East Box Elder Creek.

I was on top of  the mountain yesterday and took this pic from the power line road.

 

Over 200 personnel are currently assigned to the fire, including 10 hand crews, 15 engines, a helicopter rappel crew, three Type I helicopters, one Type II and two Type III helicopters.  Two bulldozers are working the lines and two single-engine air attack planes will join the fight on Tuesday.

Air attack was grounded on Monday due to the high winds and crews worked on point protection ahead of the fire.  Tomorrow’s efforts will focus on structure protection, prepping Cold Springs Road and taking advantage of opportunities as the weather allows.

A number of residents, friends and families were on the fire line yesterday before being evacuated. A friend or ours, Rocky Eades, was there helping a friend with his property and took these pics yesterday.

 

A Red Flag Warning for high winds is in effect until midnight tonight and will be in place the majority of Tuesday as well, with gusts up to 40 mph.  Weather forecasts in the area are calling for continued dry and hot conditions throughout the week.

A Regional Type II Incident Management Team, led by Incident Commander Todd Pechota, will assume command of the fire on Tuesday morning.

Similar to the recent Cow Camp Fire that burned 8,500 acres southeast of Laramie Peak, the rugged terrain will make fire-fighting operations more difficult.  Firefighter and public safety will remain the highest priority throughout the incident.

The Cold Springs Road (County Road 24) from the Albany-Converse County line to the junction with Fetterman Road (County Road 16) has been closed to the public by the Converse County Sheriff’s Office.  In addition, Forest Road 607 (Russell’s Camp Road), the Laprelle Guard Station, Campbell Creek Campground and Twin Peaks Trail (# 618) have been closed.

Evacuations were initiated by the Sheriff’s Department on Monday afternoon for the Cold Springs Road closure area listed above.  No structures are known to have been lost at this point.

The cause of the fire which has been burning since Sunday is under investigation.

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