07-19-21 Crater Ridge fire.jpg

A 200-plus acre fire burns in the far northwestern portion of the Medicine Wheel Ranger District Sunday, July 18, 2021. The fire is suspected to be lightning caused and is burning in heavy timber in a remote, rugged area.

SHERIDAN — Fire officials on the Bighorn National Forest are battling a 200-plus acre fire in the far northwestern portion of the Medicine Wheel Ranger District, according to a release from the U.S. Forest Service Monday morning.

As of Monday at 6 a.m., the type 2 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team assumed command of the fire. Crews are employing a full suppression strategy.

Crews will scout around the fire area, looking for opportunities to gain containment Monday, though continuous fuels, steep terrain and difficult access limit firefighters' opportunity for direct attack.

Two Type 1 helicopters stand ready for bucket work to cool areas of heat as needed.

The fire is burning in timber interspersed with grassy meadows and bald ridges. Terrain is steep, bisected by drainages. Large-diameter fuels are the primary fuels burning and are extremely dry and receptive to fire.  

The fire will be active in the Cub Creek area and along Crater Ridge, with growth expected uphill to the south and up-drainage to the west in Cub Creek, and westward growth along Crater Ridge. To the north, crews will be alert for flare-ups that could produce spotting into Pumpkin Creek.  

Local firefighting resources have responded to 16 wildfire ignitions in the past six days resulting from lightning, and the resources responded Saturday, and a Type 2 team has been ordered and was on site Sunday evening.

Campers were evacuated and an area closure started 11 a.m. Sunday.

The USFS encourages individuals to not enter the area closure or any restricted roads and trails for personal and firefighter safety. 

The Smith Creek Fire, which burned on Bureau of Land Management land last Tuesday, was 100% contained as of Wednesday, according to the USFS’ Facebook.

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