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Rain slows fire; demobilization of firefighting resources begins

Sep 26, 2012 - From staff reports

Officials are hopeful access restrictions caused by the Alpine Lake Fire could be eased in time for deer and elk hunting season opening Oct. 1.

Long-awaited rain finally arrived at the site of the Alpine Lake Fire in Fremont County, and firefighting resources are being removed gradually from the area.

U.S. Forest Service Wind River Agency information officer Karl Brauneis said the fire got between .5 and .75 inches of rain Monday and Tuesday, which slowed progress of the flames.

"It sure is nice to breathe some clean air," Brauneis said.

The blaze has filled much of the Wind River Basin with smoke for weeks.

Brauneis put the fire's size at 46,184 acres as of Wednesday morning.

The most-recent area of growth was along Bull Lake Creek, and Brauneis said available fuel for the fire is limited for the future.

"We have begun a demobilization of resources," he said. "The demobilization will include crews along with air resources and engines. Our plan is to move the fire camp at Crowheart back down to Fort Washakie on Wednesday. By Wednesday we should be down to a smaller organization for management and suppression.

"If the weather heats up and dries out in the future, we can grow the organization accordingly."

With weather cooling and moisture arriving, Brauneis said he is hopeful that access restrictions in the area might be rescinded soon to accommodate hunting and other outdoor activities.

"Our top priority is to assess the potential lifting of the public use closures for the fire area," he said. "The rifle season for both deer and elk opens on Oct. 1."

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