Rain slows advance of fire; still just 18 percent contained

Jul 13, 2017 From wire reports

CHEYENNE (AP) -- A quarter inch of rain fell on a wildfire burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest in southeast Wyoming.

Despite the rain on Wednesday, fire officials say heavy fuels continue to burn, and only 18 percent of the fire has been contained.

The rain prompted firefighters to postpone a planned burnout along the southern side of the fire on Thursday.

Officials say the postponement will allow crews additional time to strengthen fire lines and be completely ready for when the burnout can be done.

The fire that began last week has burned about 3.6 square miles (2,300 acres) of timber in the Keystone area.

A Rocky Mountain Type 2 firefighting team is deployed, with 560 personnel now on the site.

Masticators will finish up work along the USFS 517 road today, and will shift to working along the 513 and 500 roads in the coming days.

Ahead of the masticators, crews will be preparing logging decks and clearing the way for heavy equipment such as feller bunchers, skidders and logging trucks.

The small communities of Keystone, Rambler, Lake Creek and Moore's Gulch remain under an evacuation order and nearby camping areas in the forest remain closed.

On Wednesday, investigators have determined that lightning ignited a wildfire that has burned about 3 square miles (8 square kilometers) of timber in a southeast Wyoming national forest.

The fire burning in the Keystone area of Medicine Bow National Forest began July 3.

After growing quickly last week, officials say the fire has been relatively inactive this week thanks for favorable weather conditions, which have allowed firefighters.

However, they note plenty of heavy fuels in the area that could contribute to fire growth. Firefighters are constructing containment lines and conducting burnouts where they can.

Several small communities in the area have been evacuated and nearby camping areas closed.

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