More firefighters headed for Wyoming after a new wildfire broke out in the Medicine Bow National Forest and another fire more than doubled in size in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
The Medicine Bow fire threatened about a dozen seasonal homes about 3 miles south of Fox Park and just off Wyoming 230 near the Colorado state line. The Gramm Fire was about 200 acres in size.
"We do have very active structural protection efforts going on," forest spokesman Pat Harrison said Tuesday. "But there's no indication that any structures are lost or in eminent danger right now."
The fire forced the closure of Wyoming 230 for a time Monday afternoon when the fire burned over the roadway, but the highway was open Tuesday.
"Although the highway is open now that situation could change," Harrison said. "A driver on the highway would have to live with smoke and the possibility that the highway could be closed on very short notice."
The cause of the Medicine Bow fire was being investigated, Harrison said. It was burning in heavy spruce and pine trees, he said.
"Lots of down, woody fuels on the ground," he added.
Prevailing winds were pushing the fire away from a second subdivision where 12 residents lived, he said.
Becky Rine, spokeswoman for Medicine Bow National Forest, said the fire was reported around 1 p.m. Monday.
Sixty firefighters were dispatched to battle the fire and another 80 were to arrive Tuesday, she said.
A tanker plane and a helicopter were also employed.
In Snake River Canyon in western Wyoming, firefighters continued battling a 2,540-acre fire that began over the weekend. Although the fire more than doubled in size Monday, clearing smoke enabled the Wyoming Department of Transportation to reopen U.S. 26-89 between Alpine and Hoback Junction after closing the highway starting Saturday.
The 23-mile section of highway is heavily traveled by tourists and by people who live in Alpine and work in Jackson. About 8,000 vehicles a day travel the road in the summer.
Smoke from the East Table fire, located about 23 miles south of Jackson, could be seen from several of the area's small towns.
The fire was 10 percent contained, and fire officials said weather conditions Tuesday were expected to favor firefighters. About 330 personnel were on the scene, according to Bridger-Teton National Forest spokesman Jay Anderson.
The fire forced officials to close three Bridger-Teton National Forest campgrounds and suspend fishing and rafting on the stretch of the Snake River between Hoback Junction and Alpine because of smoke.
The fire was not threatening any structures, visitor services or recreation opportunities in Jackson Hole or Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks to the north.
But river outfitters were anxious to resume their operations.
"We're losing as much as 2 percent of our annual gross per day," said Frank Ewing of Barker-Ewing Whitewater. "We do 85 percent of our year's business in July and August. It's the absolute peak of our season."
If the fire continues for a week or two "That would be disastrous," Ewing said. "That would take the heart out of the season."
Fire managers said they were working to reopen the river to recreation as soon as possible.
"Once these hazards are mitigated, we feel confident that we can safely restore recreational access to a portion of the river canyon, while we continue fighting this fire," said incident commander Paul Broyles.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but fire officials say it appears to be human caused.
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