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Biggest fire in state expands

Biggest fire expands; three smaller blazes monitored across the state

Aug 8, 2013 - From the Associated Press

Wyoming's largest wildfire has grown to more than 24 square miles.

The Hardluck Fire has been burning in the Shoshone National Forest since July 17 when it was started by lightning. Firefighters have been letting it burn so far.

Total acreage as of Thursday morning was 5,471.

Three small fires are burning elsewhere in western Wyoming.

Firefighters are also monitoring the 200-acre Snake Fire on the south end of Yellowstone National Park. Park officials say the fire poses no threat to visitors.

The 400-acre Packer Creek Fire, between Bondurant and Daniel, is 65 percent contained, and about 50 firefighters are working on the 540-acre Green Fire north of Pinedale.

Some trails and backcountry campsites near Yellowstone's south entrance have been closed, but the rest of the park remains open.

Analysis of the latest reconnaissance flight to be released shows fire has spread to an estimated 190 acres since it started Monday from a smoldering lightning strike. However, the perimeter includes several spot fires from the main fire and some unburned areas, Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Traci Weaver said.

Officials from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the Bridger-Teton National Forest have been working together on the fire, one of several burning in western Wyoming after a round of lightning last week.

Meanwhile, the 400-acre Packer Creek Fire, between Bondurant and Daniels, is 40 percent contained. The Hardluck Fire in the Washakie Wilderness has grown to nearly 13,000 acres after spreading to the south Tuesday. The Green Fire north of Pinedale has burned 540 acres.

Also, two smoke jumpers were monitoring a 3-acre wildfire in Moose Basin in Grand Teton National Park, Weaver said.

The fire danger in northwestern Wyoming remains high. Authorities are warning campers to make sure they extinguish camp fires to prevent new fires from starting. They say campers have abandoned 102 campfires on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and in Grand Teton National Park so far this summer.

At the Snake Fire, crews are keeping an eye on a wildfire in Yellowstone National Park and making preparations just in case it moves toward the park's south entrance.

With the Snake Fire being allowed to burn for now, firefighters hiked to Mt. Sheridan Fire Lookout on Wednesday to help with monitoring. Crews were also protecting a backcountry cabin and developing a plan to protect structures should the fire move south toward the entrance.

They are also gathering vegetation to measure how dry the fire's fuel is to help better understand how the fire might behave.

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