Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities

Cheyenne’s drinking water may see an impact in the coming years due to a fire currently burning in Medicine Bow National Forest. The Snake Fire began September 10 and has burned 2,452 acres. Some of the fire is burning near Hog Park Reservoir, a major provider of Cheyenne’s drinking water.

Dena Egenhoff, a spokeswoman for Cheyenne’s Board of Public Utilities, said the water from Hog Park isn’t directly used as drinking water, but is traded with Rob Roy reservoir since that location is easier to transport water from.

Maggie Mullen

Fighting wildfires increasingly relies on new technology, like drones and a web program that traces every lightning strike in real time. But in the Black Hills of Northeastern Wyoming, the most basic technology is still relied on—the human eye.

Warren Peak Lookout Tower is six miles Northwest of Sundance. It’s at 6,710 feet and it’s breezy. Karen Maloy is the lookout for Warren Peak. It’s her 11th season. She’s worked at towers across the country. Her first assignment was in college.

National Wildlife Coordinating Group

Two hundred and fifty additional homes are being evacuated because of the spreading Lava Mountain Fire in Fremont County.

The Western Montana Fire Incident Management Team issued new evacuation orders Monday for residents and campers in the Union Pass, Porcupine, Hat Butte and Warm Springs areas. Firefighters have been preparing homes and structures in the area in the event the blaze did spread.

“(Firefighters) have really gone through a lot of effort and done everything possible to prepare for this potential,” said spokeswoman Hailey Graf.

National Interagency Fire Center

Teton County health officials are warning people living in communities near wildfires about lower air quality.

Wildfire smoke has particles in it from burning material that when inhaled can be harmful on the body, especially during exercise. These particles can irritate an individual’s eyes, lungs and throat.

“You know, it’s not a good time when it’s really smoky out to go run to the top of the mountain,” Rachael Wheeler of Teton County Public Health said. “You don’t really want to aggravate your body when the air isn’t clean.”

BLM Wyoming

New fire restrictions for public lands in Sheridan, Johnson, and Campbell counties will go into effect Friday. Those counties been dry and hot in recent weeks, and lightning strikes have caused two fires in the area.

The new Bureau of Land Management restrictions will prohibit things like building fires outside of designated fire grates and smoking on public lands. 


A fire near Sundance that burned one home and several outbuildings is now 75 percent contained and an evacuation order for the area has been lifted. 

A lightning strike ignited the Kara Creek Fire on Friday, and strong winds over the weekend propelled its growth to more than 12,000 acres.

Smoke from the fire briefly shut down I-90 on Saturday, as crews built a fire break. In a statement, the fire incident commander said there has been an outpouring of support from nearby communities.

Wikimedia Commons

Officials are gaining control of Wyoming’s largest wildfire this year. A 225-acre is about 90 percent under control as of Wednesday while two out of three smaller fires have been put out near the town of Ten Sleep. Bureau of Land Management officials expect all fires to be extinguished by Wednesday.

Bureau of Land Management Worland Field Office Manager Rance Neighbors said they weren’t expecting significant wildfires this early.

Wikimedia Commons

Niobrara, Weston and Crook counties are on high alert for wildfires as Wyoming's first fire restrictions of the year are put in place.

Bureau of Land Management New Castle Field Office Manager Rick Miller said a main reason fire restrictions were issued Tuesday was because it's been very dry in the region.

"Northeast Wyoming has not had the rainfall that other parts of Wyoming have received, nor the spring snowfall, so we're quite a bit drier than other parts of Wyoming right now," Miller said.

Kari Greer, National Interagency Fire Center

Gusty winds and a lack of rain over the past couple of weeks has caused fires to flare up around the state. Firefighters are now battling two fires in the Tongue River Canyon in Sheridan County. One has grown to over two square miles.

Elsewhere, a red flag warning was issued last night around Cheyenne and Laramie, and there are two small fires burning near Laramie Peak, not far from a campground. One fire has been mostly contained, but the other flared up close by. Aaron Voos with the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest says it was a convenient turn of events.


After weeks of hot and dry weather, Yellowstone National Park’s fire managers raised the fire danger rating to “high”. The warning comes as the park heads into its busiest season and one of the biggest holiday weekends of the year.

Traci Weaver with Yellowstone National Park says that means visitors to the park this July 4th weekend need to be extra-careful when dealing with fire. She says campfires should be completely put out and cool to the touch, and fireworks are not allowed anywhere in the park. That includes things you might not think of as fireworks.

National Park Service

Pine beetles and drought is leaving Wyoming and other states more susceptible to wildfires than at any point in recent memory, yet the federal fire policy doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the new climate. Wyoming lawmakers are trying to solve the problem.

Wikipedia Commons

Like the enormous herds wild of bison that once thundered across the west, in coming years the forests of Yellowstone may, too, become few and far between.

That’s according to the new study The Coming Climate: Ecological Impacts of Climate Change On Teton County, commissioned by the Chartour Institute. Corinna Riginos is a research ecologist and co- authored the report. She tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard the data itself isn’t new – but they’re using it to make predictions about what could happen to the ecosystem and economy in Northwestern Wyoming.

Forecasters say drought and wildfire could ravage much of the Western U.S. this summer. To help farmers and ranchers be prepared, the Obama Administration rolled out several programs last week at a press conference for Western governors. Some initiatives could help Wyoming producers.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Robert Bonnie said some short term solutions are necessary. One is to reimburse ranchers who lose livestock because of a lack of grass or water.

Kari Greer, National Interagency Fire Center

With wildfires becoming larger and more expensive every year, the federal government is proposing new ways to fund fighting them. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press conference Tuesday that even though $50 million more has been budgeted this year than last year for wildfires, they’re expecting a shortfall of up to a $1.5 billion if wildfires rage out of control in California and in the northwest like they did last year.

Vilsack says wildfire management has exceeded its budget in half of the last 14 fire seasons.

Rebecca Huntington

In the summer of 1988, 36 percent of Yellowstone National Park was on fire. To this day, it remains the largest wildfire since Yellowstone became a national park. Yellowstone's spokesperson at that time, Joan Anzelmo remembers what it was like to be at the center of the firestorm.

U.S. Forest Service, Associated Press

Yale forestry researchers say wildfires are getting larger and costlier across the nation. Jude Bayham who spoke at the University of Wyoming Wednesday says that the more development that occurs in wild areas, the more complex wildfires become.  

He says the Rocky Mountain region has seen an increase in such homes and it costs more to protect them when a wildfire breaks out. Homes built in wildlands have a direct impact on a wildfire’s cost and size.

A flash flood warning is in effect near Rockspring, there’s a flash flood watch across much of Western and Central Wyoming, and more rain is expected through the weekend. 

There are three fires burning across Wyoming today. Near Sinks Canyon in Freemont County, in The Hard Luck area of the Washakie Wilderness and in the western Battle Creek area of area of Medicine Bow national forest. The fire near Hard Luck was discovered by reconnaissance planes on Saturday and the most recent fire, burning near Battle Creek picked up Monday.  

Kabir Bakie / Creative Commons

A wet spring has shortened Wyoming’s fire season, according to Wyoming’s State Forester.

Bill Crapser says decreased fire danger has allowed the Cowboy State to lend 50 people and 15 engines to fight wildfires in Colorado.

Crapser expects much of the state’s plant life to dry out in July and August, which makes wildfires more likely.

“We’re not gonna get through unscathed, but I don’t think we’ll see fires of the number or the size that we saw last year.”