JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) Some residents returned to their mountain homes in the Jackson Hole valley Monday, but others had to wait until firefighters could better contain the wildfire burning for the past nine days near this trendy resort.
Southwest of Jackson, a stubborn wildfire considered 70 percent contained remained Monday at an estimated 4,470 acres. Earlier, the fire had come within several feet of some homes, but none of the more than 100 homes threatened over the last week was destroyed.
Firefighters were monitoring for spot fires that caused concern, especially in one subdivision where houses sell for an average $1 million.
Fire officials were confident enough to tell some of the estimated 150 residents forced out by the fire that they could go home a first since last Wednesday for many of those evacuees. The remaining residents were expected to return later in the week.
Marilyn Zumberge was ready to go home. Im eager to get back to my own bed to sleep, said Zumberge, who had stayed in a Jackson motel. Im not afraid (to return), no.
Mike Calabrese said he was disappointed, not downtrodden that he wouldnt be returning home immediately. But he wasnt second-guessing the judgment of fire officials. If we have to stay out a month, thats the way it goes, he said.
Lisa Warner agreed safety needed to come first. The fact that the house is still there is humbling, she said. Between the firefighters and God, it was a joint effort.
The smoke plume from the fire thinned over Jackson Hole, the 40-mile-long valley ringed by jagged mountain peaks that is the gateway to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. North of Jackson, the Tetons were visible.
The fire started July 22 from an apparent escaped campfire in a recreation area and has cost $6.8 million to fight so far.
The fact that no homes were lost wasnt so much luck, fire information officer Bobby Kitchens said. It was darn good firefighting, he said.
Crews were expected to remain on the fire line Monday night to strengthen it, fire information officer Andy Schlosberg said. Favorable weather conditions were forecast for Tuesday and officials hoped for total containment within days, he said.