Fire reaches 42,000 acres; no weather relief for now

Sep 23, 2012 From staff reports

It's been days since Riverton Valley residence saw the Wind River Mountains, thanks to smoke from the Alpine Lake Fire south of Bull Lake, and there's no sign of anything changing soon.

U.S. Forest Service Wind River Agency public information officer Karl Brauneis said the fire has grown to 42,402 acres through Saturday afternoon.

He said fire managers expect the fire behavior to be "about the same" through the weekend, with warm, dry weather persisting in the fire area.

"Not much relief from the smoke," Brauneis predicted, noting that fires burning west of Wyoming also are likely contributors to the smoke in the Wind River Basin.

"I understand that in eastern Oregon, Idaho and eastern Washington, the smoke is so thick that the kids can't go out for recess," Brauneis said.

A change in firefighting personnel was noted Saturday. Crew from the Greybull-based Wyoming Hot Shots were rotated out of the Alpine Lake assignment, replaced by nine smoke jumpers from the Forest Service's Boise base.

Motorists traveling through the area are advised to use their headlights during the day.

Little or no precipitation appeared possible over the next few days. The National Weather Service predicted isolated thunderstorms by Tuesday, but not necessarily producing rain.

Brauneis said the Wyoming Hotshot crew had been deployed to numerous fire around the West all summer.

"They are in need of rest after multiple assignments," he said. "If you see them over the next day or two heading back to Greybull, give 'em a big thank-you for all the hard work they put in."

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