Pole Creek Fire is growing

© 2018-Sublette Examiner

LABARGE – The Pole Creek Fire, burning on the Kemmerer Ranger District on the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF), has grown to approximately 3,169 acres as of Monday afternoon.

The fire is located about 25 miles west of LaBarge in the Hams Fork drainage. Weather conditions over the weekend moderated, limiting fire growth to just 200 acres.

Updated mapping on Monday shows its current size at 3,169 acres.

An emergency area closure is in effect to allow firefighting resources to safely perform their job and provide for public safety. The closure includes all roads and trails as well as adjacent forest service lands from the southern boundary of the BTNF to just north of the fire perimeter.

Western Wyoming Type III Incident Management Team 2, with incident commander Jon Ziegler, assumed command of the fire Sunday morning. The primary objective is to provide for firefighter and public safety. Current strategy is to secure the heel of the fire with the construction of control lines and burnout unburned fuel between the main fire and the containment lines. Crews will be scouting the southern perimeter to begin putting in control lines to keep the fire from spreading south on to private property.

Crews will also be actively monitoring the northern and eastern flanks of the fire. The agency expects the fire will advance into the 2000 Fontenelle Fire scar that lies to the northeast of the Pole Creek Fire. Future actions on the eastern flank will be based on fire activity in the fire scar and the potential for the fire to progress eastward out of the fire scar.

Challenges facing firefighters are strong winds and hot, dry weather conditions. The area is rugged terrain with heavy concentrations of timber adjacent to the fire.

Resources currently assigned to the fire include one Type I helicopter, one Type II helicopter, two Type III helicopters, two 20-person Initial Attack hand crews, and numerous engines from Forest Service, Lincoln, and Sublette counties.

Sublette’s resources include a Type VI engine and three personnel, but that will likely be the extent of assistance, according to Sublette County Unified Fire deputy fire chief John Ball.

“We don’t want to tie them up because of the eclipse that’s coming,” he said.

Additional resources have been ordered by the USFS and include two Type II 20-person hand crews and a Type I hotshot crew.

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time and an investigation is currently underway.

The fire danger rating on the BTNF is rated as “high,” which means fires can start easily and spread quickly.

For more information visit tetonfires.com or inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5468/.

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