SHERIDAN — Fire officials in the Bighorn National Forest are now battling a 383-acre fire in the far northwestern portion of the Medicine Wheel Ranger District, according to a release from the U.S. Forest Service Tuesday morning.
The Crater Ridge Fire northeast of Lovell increased by 183 acres from the USFS' 200-plus estimation Monday morning. The fire began Saturday and is suspected to be caused by lightning.
The type 2 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team assumed command of the fire Monday. The fire is 0% contained as of Tuesday morning, and crews are still employing a full suppression strategy.
Fire behavior was active Monday, with group tree torching observed. Most fire activity occurred in the Cub Creek drainage, where type 1 helicopters dropped water over areas of intense heat to keep the fire north of Cub Creek.
Scouting indicates the need for an indirect strategy, where firefighters will create containment lines at a distance from the fire front.
Hotshot crews and hand crews have initiated indirect containment line along Boyd Ridge south of the fire, working to connect existing patch cuts in that area to be used as a fuel break, to be continued today. To the north, crews are evaluating locations for indirect line along the 111 road as well as Pumpkin Creek.
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect on the Bighorn National Forest. There is an area closure around the fire. There are numerous campers and trailers within and around the fire closure area that could be at risk of fire damage and should be removed while conditions allow.