(Thanks to Lynn McRann for the photo of the Very Large Air Tanker, a specially equipped DC-10.)
(Lander, Wyo.) – The Fairfield Fire, which is believed to have begun in the area of Fairfield Hill on the northwest wall of Sinks Canyon, has grown to 340 acres.
U.S. Forest Service Fire Information Officer Carl Jungck released the size of the fire during a late Monday afternoon interview with County10.com. Jungck said 200 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Forestry Division and various Fremont County Fire Battalions are working the blaze.
The campgrounds within Sinks Canyon have been evacuated, and Jungck said that everyone who was known to be the area is safely out of the canyon.
Jungck said the fire was primarily traveling northeast along the wall of the canyon.
At this point the fire is classified as a Type III, indicating an expected multi-day fight. Jungck said firefighters on the ground are working mostly defensively to protect homes in Homestead Park and state-owned structures within the canyon. As of 4 p.m., no structures or equipment had been lost.
Two single engine helicopters have been called to dump water on the fire, and at least one has arrived.
A Type II team has been ordered in anticipation of the fight becoming more complicated, Jungck said. This afternoon a Very Large Air Tanker arrived to dump fire retardant on the flames.
Jungck also said a trigger point had been set for when a next wave of evacuations could be ordered. At the time of the interview Jungck could not say exactly where that trigger point is.
No cause for the fire has been named.
Scott and Tasha Fitzgerald of Arkansas were camping in a Forest Service campground for several days and were forced to evacuate. The couple told County10.com that at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday they observed a “huge meteor” land in the vicinity of Fairfield Hill. Scott Fitzgerald said it appeared to still be burning when it struck the ground.
“That was the first thing that come to me,” Scott Fitzgerald said of when he first found out about the fire.
Tasha Fitzgerald said a firefighter told her the fire could have started from lightning from several days ago, though couple said there had been no inclement weather in the area.