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RAWLINS — A forest fire that started Monday morning near Lake Owen in the Snowy Range had burned about 500 acres by evening and caused some evacuations, officials said.

The blaze was reported at 5 acres around 1:30 p.m., and had grown to 200 acres by mid-afternoon, said Vern Bentley, fire management officer for the Laramie Ranger District of the Medicine Bow National Forest.

It burned about 500 acres before "laying down for the evening," or slowing down because of cooler temperatures and lighter winds, Bentley told the Daily Times of Rawlins.

A few area residents and some visitors at Lake Owen Campground, about 11 miles south of Centennial, were evacuated, he said.

Dwight France, a pilot and Carbon County's fire warden, said he flew over the fire in the afternoon and saw it blowing up.

"It looked to be really moving, pushed by southwest winds," he said.

The National Weather Service reported gusts of around 40 mph in the area with humidity in the single digits. Similar conditions were expected Tuesday.

Bentley said the cause of the fire was unknown, but lightning was suspected after storms that swept through the area Sunday night.

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