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Wildfires cause concern, force evacuation in area near Lander

A small fire that started in the Shoshone National Forest Saturday was growing Monday.

The Hardluck Fire was discovered Saturday afternoon by a fire detection flight from the Bridger-Teton National Forest, according to a Shoshone National Forest news release. The fire was burning on a ridgetop deep within the Washakie Wilderness, near the confluence of East Fork Creek and the South Fork of the Shoshone River on the Shoshone National Forest.

It was estimated at roughly 10 acres in size Sunday evening but had grown to 60 acres by Monday afternoon, according to Kristie L. Salzmann, Shoshone National Forest public affairs officer. Warm, windy conditions will likely result in fire growth, she said.

“It’s burning in lodgepole pine and spruce fir with some beetle kill mixed in,” said Tim Klukas, fire management officer for the Shoshone’s North Zone.

The fire was being monitored via reconnaissance flights due to the rough, inaccessible terrain. However, travelers into the backcountry on or near the South Fork trail are advised to check with Shoshone National Forest personnel before departing.

Fire problems spread across the region Monday, as the Forest Service was evacuating the Homestead Park summer homes as well as all Sinks Canyon campgrounds, which will remain closed until further notice. The evacuation is due to a fire in close proximity to Homestead Park, according to a Forest Service release.

Meanwhile, Wapiti residents reported another fire Saturday that is now contained.

The one-fourth acre fire north of Table Mountain, is on private land adjacent to the forest. Park County and Forest Service fire crews were working jointly to suppress it.

The Shoshone National Forest has had more than 14 fires so far this summer. Roughly half of them were caused by neglected campfires and the remainder by lightning. Visitors to the forest are reminded to be vigilant with campfires.

For information about fire conditions on the Shoshone National Forest, call the Washakie Ranger District at 307-332-5460, the Wind River District at 307-455-2466 or the Clarks Fork, Greybull, and Wapiti districts at 307-527-6921.

Additional information and updates are available on the Shoshone National Forest’s website, www.fs.usda.gov/shoshone/ as well as through Twitter (@ShoshoneNF).

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