Jun 19, 2012 - The Associated PressCHEYENNE -- Winds gusting up to 40 mph tripled the size of a wildfire in southern Converse County on Monday, and authorities advised residents east of the fire to leave.
The wildfire was burning in rugged terrain in the Medicine Bow National Forest. It was first spotted Sunday about 30 miles south of Glenrock and just north of the Albany County line.
The fire had grown to about 2,000 acres Monday afternoon -- roughly 3 square miles -- after beginning the day at an estimated 600 acres.
The strong winds forced the initial firefighting crews to pull back, and sheriff's deputies started going door to door early Monday afternoon advising people inhabiting the area's scattered ranches and summer cabins to voluntarily evacuate.
Converse County Undersheriff Don Schoenleber had no estimate of the number of residents in the area, but a shelter was set up in Douglas, about 35 miles away.
"This is in a mountainous region, very few roads," Schoenleber said.
Forest Service spokesman Larry Sandoval said more experienced federal fire managers were being brought in Monday evening to take over fighting the fire, which was dubbed the Russell's Camp Fire. Its origin was unknown.
Elsewhere, a grass fire Sunday destroyed four rural homes in Natrona County before being put out.
No one was injured in the fire near the town of Mills, and no damage estimates were immediately available.
The fire was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday and contained at about 5 p.m., Natrona County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Sellers said. Its cause is under investigation.
Smaller fires also were reported in Weston and Platte counties over the weekend.
The National Weather Service issued red-flag warnings Monday and Tuesday for a large part of southern Wyoming.
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