Crews battle blaze in Guernsey State Park

3:51 PM, Jun 10, 2012   |    comments
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WHEATLAND, Wyo. (AP) - Firefighters on Sunday battled a wildfire that blackened 6 square miles in Wyoming's Guernsey State Park and forced the evacuation of campers and visitors, while crews contained about 70 percent of a fire that blackened 13 square miles in nearby Medicine Bow National Park.

No injuries or structural damage were immediately reported from either fire.

Firefighters directed by Platte County and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management were battling the Guernsey blaze, which erupted late Saturday. The cause wasn't immediately known. The park was closed until further notice.

Police escorted evacuees back into the park early Sunday to retrieve their belongings and recreational vehicles, The Glenrock Bird reported. Authorities opened a shelter for evacuees at a 4-H building in Wheatland, about 65 miles north of Cheyenne.

To the west, containment lines around 70 percent of the Cow Camp Fire in Medicine Bow National Forest held during high winds with the passage of a cold front overnight. Crews were working Sunday to mop up hot spots and fortify the perimeter, with full containment expected late Monday or Tuesday, said Beth Hermanson, spokeswoman for the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team on the fire.

The lightning-caused fire began June 3 and is about 20 miles northwest of Wheatland. It is burning in rugged terrain with mixed ponderosa pine, brush and grass. Plumes of ash could be seen Sunday from deep inside the perimeter, Hermanson said.

About 405 personnel backed by four air tankers and three water-dropping helicopters expanded containment lines Saturday.

"The fire is looking really good. We're starting to demobilize resources to help fight other fires," Hermanson said.

The team dispatched air support from Medicine Bow to help crews battling wildfires in Guernsey State Park and in northern Colorado, Hermanson said.

Albany County sheriff's deputies and U.S. Forest Service staff were directing traffic in the area. 


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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