Sugarloaf fire in Medicine Bow National Forest reaches 700 acres


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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A wildfire that broke out last week in the Medicine Bow National Forest has grown an additional 200 acres, burning nearly 700 acres of land in the forest, fire officials told the Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.

Tim Jones, public information officer for the Sugarloaf Fire Command team, said fire activity has been a little more subdued since the weekend.

“The firing operation on the west side of the fire was a success, we had no issues with the fire moving over the containment lines today,” Jones said.

The fire has a 19% containment rate, but the fire crew of more than 450 people intend to completely suppress the wildfire. Jones said he couldn’t predict when the lockdown rate might increase.

Firefighters are concerned about increased winds Tuesday evening. A group of five fire engines are set up to watch the fire overnight to monitor fire activity.

Tuesday’s fire activity was creeping and smoldering, which kept firefighters on their toes for potential blazes not to break out.

Rapidly changing weather conditions in northern Albany County have been mixed with regards to fire activity. Strong winds mean the fire could spread, but regular rain showers have slowed at least some of the fire’s growth.

“The weather conditions are changing a bit on us,” Jones said. “The rain showers we saw, some of the fire got it, some didn’t. We’ve had some form of dampness on the fire for the past three days, but it wasn’t enough to put out the fire.

Fire lines on the west and east sides of the wildfire have been established.

A dozen residences were evacuated in northern Albany County last week. Jones said the evacuation order has not yet been lifted.

“It’s about the risk of the fire moving between where it is now and where these houses are,” Jones said. “There is no containment between these two areas at this time.”

The Sugarloaf Fire was reportedly started around noon on July 25. Investigators believe it is man-made, but a spokesperson for the fire command team last week could not say why investigators reached that conclusion.

The fire started near the Cow Creek trailhead in the forest and is burning about seven miles southwest of Laramie Peak.

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