Hazy skies again greet Sheridan-area residents Wednesday morning as smoke fills the sky from a wide array of fires in both Wyoming and Montana - almost all of which began this week.
According Associated Press reports, the Water Hole fire forced evacuations northwest of Lame Deer late Tuesday. Not contained, the fire is burning just north of Lame Deer 16,300 acres, among the several fires in southeast Montana. The Water Hole fire does threaten several homes.
In Wyoming, the Hole in the Wall fire is burning west of Clark in Park County north of Cody south of the Wyoming-Montana line. Associated Press reports say that the town of Clark is not threatened. Resulting smoke blown toward the Sheridan area comes from the fire burning on the front Beartooth Mountains. According to the most recent USDA active fire mapping report from 5:30 Tuesday morning, the fire has burnt 2,700 acres in bug-killed Douglas fir and lodgepole pines, and is just 10 percent contained.
Also, a fire in Campbell county is burning 15 miles north of Gillette has burned 4,000 acres and was started by lightning Tuesday. It has increased by 525 percent since Tuesday.
Sheridan County Fire Warden, Bill Biastoch, said Tuesday that Sheridan has been "lucky" with the amount of incidents popping up elsewhere, but he said that fires do remain distant from Sheridan County.
Blazes are a result of a storm Sunday that swept across northern Wyoming and southern Montana with lightning sparking multiple incidents.
-Some 200-plus firefighters are battling a now more than 11,000-acre blaze outside Wheatland, burning in downed-fuel from a 1994 fire in the area which includes grass, brush and pine. That fire is 40 percent contained, also caused by lightning.
-A small incident in Yellowstone National Park is being allowed to burn, and so is the North Point fire near Dubois.
-Fires burning in southern Montana include the “Little” fire which is burning 5,000 acres 32 miles south east of Ashland, and the Mill fire burning 4,500 acres north of Ashland. Little is 10 percent contained, and Mill is just two percent contained. These fires are burning in pine, juniper and sagebrush.
The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for Sheridan County, areas of southeast Montana, and north-central Wyoming. A cold front moving through the area by Thursday could bring frequent lightning and gusty winds during scattered thunderstorms.
A 20 percent chance of thunderstorms is forecast for Sheridan on Thursday with a high of 94. Wednesday is predicted to be clear, also with a high of 94.
Information from the Associated Press, and from USDA Forest Service Active Fire mapping was used in this report.