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Evacuations ordered as Wyoming fire moves toward highway

September 24, 2018

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — More people were ordered to leave a sparsely populated area of western Wyoming besieged by a wildfire as authorities expanded an evacuation Sunday that includes more than 250 residences.

Emergency officials went door to door informing people to leave the small community of Bondurant and surrounding areas, Sublette County Sheriff’s Sgt. Travis Bingham said. Other communities that were under the evacuation order included Rim Ranches, Sgt. Lane, Rim Station, Flying ‘A’ Ranch to Cline Ranch, Black Butte and the Packer Miner subdivision.

A 50-mile (80-kilometer) stretch of U.S. Highway 191 was closed between the communities of Daniel and Hoback Junction as the fire advanced toward the roadway.

Authorities had previously decided to expand the evacuation zone if the highway were threatened. At least an additional 20 residences were evacuated Sunday, and that figure was growing rapidly in the afternoon, Bingham said.

Bondurant is a community of about 100 people centered around a post office and cafe along the highway — “really a concept more than a place,” fire spokeswoman Larisa Bogardus said.

It was unknown if any structures were immediately threatened. The evacuation included residences and summer homes across a large area, Bogardus said.

Before Sunday’s flare-up, the Roosevelt Fire already had burned more than 60 square miles (155 square kilometers) and destroyed at least three houses.

It was not clear how it ignited Sept. 15 in dense timber and rugged terrain about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Jackson. The blaze was partially contained.

A second fire burning to the southeast prompted authorities to ask hikers, hunters and other backcountry recreationists to evacuate portions of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

That blaze was burning in the Irish Canyon area about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Pinedale.

Summer homes and the Big Sandy lodge were briefly evacuated Saturday evening before fire crews managed to partially control the blaze, Bingham said. A size estimate was not available.

The fires are among several burning across the western United States.

A small but stubborn blaze has led to evacuations in a rural area of central California, while more than two dozen rural homes have been evacuated as firefighters try to stop the spread of a forest fire north of Los Angeles.

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