UPDATE 5:07 PM
Officials with the Bighorn National Forest have confirmed that the Gilead Fire 10 miles northwest of Buffalo in the National Forest has grown substantially after a very active Wednesday. BHNF Public Affairs Specialist Susie Douglas.
The fire is burning in the proposed Rock Creek Wilderness area two miles west of Stone Mountain, which poses the question, would the fire be more accessible on the ground if it weren't a recommended wilderness area?
Douglas said that though firefighter and public safety take precedence for fire managers, structure protection at the H F Bar Ranch is a high priority. There are no short-term threats to structures at this time. Areas north of the fire, including Story, should expect heavy smoke through Thursday. The Gilead Fire was started by lightning August 14th.
Bighorn National Forest fire crews responded to the Twin Buttes Fire north of Burgess Junction Wednesday afternoon. The fire, at about three to five acres in size, may be contained Thursday. The cause of this fire is under investigation.
The Gilead Fire on the Bighorn National Forest continues to grow as a plume of smoke could be seen from around the region Wednesday. BHNF Public Affairs Specialist Susie Douglas said that winds in the area caused the fire to flare up, and that it is moving north and will continue to be monitored by forest officials. The Gilead Fire is located about two miles west of Stone Mountain, or about 10 miles northwest of Buffalo.
Fighting the fire on the ground has not been possible due to the steep, rough, rocky terrain of where it's burning, and the fact that there are limited evacuation sites and escape routes in the area. Two helicopters will continue making bucket drops on the fire's perimeter to try and slow the spread of the fire. The fire will most likely continue to burn until there is significant precipitation in the area. The Gilead Fire was started by lightning August 14th.