Fire near Red Top put to rest
A helicopter dumps water on a wildfire Saturday evening on the west side of Munger Mountain, southeast of Red Top Meadows. An evacuation advisory for residents about a half-mile from the blaze was sent out Saturday and lifted at noon Sunday. A helicopter dumps water on a wildfire Saturday evening on the west side of Munger Mountain, southeast of Red Top Meadows. An evacuation advisory for residents about a half-mile from the blaze was sent out Saturday and lifted at noon Sunday. BRADLY J. BONER/JACKSON HOLE DAILY.View our entire photo gallery >>
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
October 1, 2012
Firefighters quickly corralled a small blaze that was sparked Saturday afternoon on the west side of Munger Mountain and briefly threatened houses nearby.
For less than 24 hours, an evacuation advisory was issued for the Red Top Meadows subdivision, located about a half-mile north of the 30-acre Rock Creek Fire. The advisory was canceled at noon Sunday.
Bridger-Teton National For-est, Teton Interagency and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS firefighters were aided by favorable fuels, a chilly night and manageable terrain. The fire crept through sagebrush and aspen, which burn less hot than pine forest does.
Greg Smith, a resident of Red Top Meadows, watched crews suppress the fire aerially from his neighborhood.
“There was just one helicopter at first, and they were dipping out of Fall Creek,” Smith said in an interview Sunday. “He kind of single-handedly got the whole thing under control. It was amazing. I thought there was three helicopters for a while, because he was moving so fast.”
Favorable winds played a role in stopping the fire’s movement toward the subdivision, Smith said.
“They’re going to have it contained with a line today and controlled tomorrow,” Bridger-Teton spokeswoman Mary Cernicek said Sunday.
The cause of the fire, started near Fall Creek Road, is under investigation, Cernicek said. Lightning has been detected nearby in recent days, she said. The area contains many trails and is popular for hunting.
According to the wildfire information website InciWeb.org, three engines, two helicopters and one water truck were dispatched to combat the blaze. By early Sunday morning, firefighters had the fire “knocked out” and were mopping up — stirring ashes and breaking up burned stumps to eliminate hot spots — InciWeb said.
The fleeting Rock Creek Fire comes on the heels of the Horsethief Canyon Fire, a historic threat to Jackson that’s now 94 percent contained.
Started on Sept. 8., the Horsethief Canyon Fire is expected to continue to put up smoke periodically in the coming weeks due to trees torching, Inciweb said. Along its perimeter, the 3,373-acre wildfire is not expected to grow.
On Friday, a “burned area emergency response” team began gathering information to assess the environmental consequences of the high-profile blaze. The team will subsequently recommend actions to lessen the damage to the forest, which could include flooding, erosion, weed growth and other factors.
Two other, mostly uncontained, wildfires continue to burn in more remote reaches of northwest Wyoming.
The 46,184-acre Alpine Lake Fire burns primarily in harsh terrain on the Wind River Indian Reservation through pine and spruce forests. At lower elevations, in sagebrush and grasses, 74 personnel are working to suppress the fire.
Fourteen miles to the northeast of Moran in the Teton Wilderness, the 28,800-acre North Buffalo Fire is just 15 percent contained. The primary objective for 23 firefighters is to hold the southwest corner of the blaze to prevent it from advancing toward Buffalo Valley.
Fire danger inside of Teton Inter-agency Fire’s district is still very high, and partial fire restrictions, which ban open campfires, are in place.