Wyoming wildfire slows but windy forecast cause for concern
In this aerial photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, smoke from a wildfire is in part of Medicine Bow National Forest on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. The fire burning since last Thursday, prompting an evacuation order for a 300-square-mile portion of the forest in southeastern Wyoming. (Jerod Delay/U.S. Forest Service via AP)
| September 22, 2020 1:00 PM
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A wildfire that roared across a Wyoming wilderness area toward cabins and a water supply reservoir for Cheyenne calmed down Tuesday but predictions for more gusty winds were cause for concern.
Cooler weather and calmer wind helped slow the fire after it burned over 21 square miles (55 square kilometers) of Medicine Bow National Forest in southeastern Wyoming over the weekend.
An evacuation order for some 300 square miles (780 square kilometers) of forest remained in place Tuesday as the fire burned within a couple of miles (3 kilometers) of Rob Roy Reservoir, part of a system of reservoirs and pipelines that supplies water to Wyoming's capital city.
City water managers weren't immediately concerned the fire could imperil Cheyenne's water supply, saying ash and other fire debris could be filtered out.
Flames were also within a few miles (5 kilometers) of Keystone, an enclave of summer cabins. An area that burned in 2017 stood between Keystone and the fire, potentially helping firefighters protect the structures.
The fire grew by less than a quarter of a square mile (0.5 square kilometer) Monday. Tuesday's forecast called for 10 mph (16 kilometers per hour) winds and a 20% chance of rain.
Dry, windier weather was in store Wednesday through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.
The fire began Thursday in the Savage Run wilderness and by Tuesday had burned across most of the wilderness and part of the nearby North Platte Wilderness. Officials were investigating signs that the fire was human-caused.