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Rain, cooler weather slow wildfires
The 50-square-mile Arapaho Fire near Wheatland was 75 percent contained as of Monday afternoon. U.S. Forest Service

Rain, cooler weather slow wildfires

Jul 10, 2012 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming's largest wildfires remained in check Monday after rain and cooler weather helped firefighters gain the upper hand in the effort to contain them over the weekend, although one fire may not be totally contained until this fall or winter.

Officials cautioned that the fire season is still young and warm, drier weather is returning this week, meaning conditions will soon again favor the spread of any new fires that might start.

"This moisture sure helped and let us get ahead of the ones that we had going, but the long-term trend still shows pretty warm and dry," State Forester Bill Crapser said Monday. "There is predicted dry lightning over a lot of the state tomorrow and Wednesday."

The state's largest wildfire -- the nearly 150-square-mile Arapaho Fire burning northwest of Wheatland -- was 75 percent contained and firefighters were making good progress Monday afternoon, fire spokesman Jim Whittington said.

But Whittington said it's unlikely the fire can be completely contained because of a 2 to 3 mile stretch of very steep and rough terrain on the west side of the 10,272-foot Laramie Peak.

"This is way too steep and rocky to even think about putting firefighters up there," he said. "More than likely it's going to take fall and winter getting here with some wet stuff to put that thing out for good."

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