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Wyoming News Briefs

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Light rain fell on a wildfire burning on Casper Mountain, and fire officials say it helped slow the Sheep Herder Fire yesterday afternoon but don’t believe it’s enough to stop it. A predicted shift in winds overnight could push the fire into more populated areas of the mountain that overlooks Casper. The 15-square-mile fire has burned at least six structures and forced some 500 people to be evacuated after beginning Sunday afternoon.

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Jackson residents are anxiously watching a 2,000-acre wildfire burning south of the ski resort town, but officials say it appears the town will be able to get through the night without any evacuation. About 1,000 residents have been warned to be prepared to leave in case the fire gets too close. No mandatory evacuation orders have been issued because of the Little Horsethief Fire.

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming coach Dave Christensen says quarterback Brett Smith is being evaluated on a day-to-day basis on whether he can play this weekend. Smith was carted off the field in the fourth quarter during Saturday’s 34-31 loss to Toledo in Laramie. Smith was taken to a local hospital but was reported up and around after the game. Wyoming is scheduled to host Cal Poly on Saturday.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal officials say a mountain pine beetle outbreak that left Western states with vast stands of dead and dying trees has eased for the second consecutive year. With fewer trees for the beetles to eat, the U.S. Forest Service said yesterday that 3.8 million acres with beetle-killed trees were surveyed in 2011. That’s down by more than half from 2009. Agency officials say the good news is tempered by more trees dying at higher altitude as beetles take advantage of warm winters to gain a new foothold.

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