CASPER, Wyo. — The “Clemons” wildfire burning in Sybille Canyon west of Wheatland is estimated as 30% contained and at about 290 acres, according to Melissa Mokry with Wyoming State Forestry who provided updates on InciWeb at about 1:15 pm Thursday, July 9.
147 personnel are responding to the fire from various agencies, including Wyoming State Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, Platte County and Albany County. BJ Clark and Travis Pardue are incident commanders.
The National Weather Service in Cheyenne had reported on Thursday morning that the wildfire had grown to over 1,000 acres, but updated that status to under 300 acres in the afternoon.
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NWS in Cheyenne Meteorologist Brandon Wills explained to Oil City that their earlier report was based on what a hazardous weather meteorologist said during a morning briefing about the size of the fire.
Wills said for now, it made sense to go with the conservative estimate on the size of the fire. He added that “tomorrow it is going to be extremely gusty” with gusts up to 45-50 mph which could create challenges for fire crews in the canyon.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Mokry and Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser said that while there are structures in the Sybille Canyon area, they were not aware of any under immediate threat.
The fuel type for the fire includes:
- Scattered timber
Crapser explained that a full suppression strategy is being applied to the fire, noting that this is an approach both local and federal agencies are employing this year due to COVID-19 in an attempt to avoid having large fire camps.
Two helicopters, two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs), and 5 engines are responding to the fire, according to the InciWeb report.
The wildfire was initially discovered at about 6 pm Wednesday, July 8. The size of the fire was listed at 282 acres as of 10:30 am.
InciWeb reported weather concerns related to the fire include dry conditions on Thursday with westerly winds.
“There is currently a fire weather watch out for the area of the fire,” InciWeb said, adding that Friday there is a potential for winds to increase in the area.
The fire has closed WY 34 north of Laramie between Bosler and the Albany/Platte County line, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
The closure went into effect as of 8:10 am Thursday, July 9 and remains in effect. No estimated reopening time has been provided.