Dry conditions increase activity for the Keystone Fire

ALBANY CO., Wy.(KGWN)- Update as of 8:21pm 7/14/17:

The Keystone fire, caused by lightning, is up to 24% contained but has grown slightly to 2,305 acres. 531 personnel are working to contain the fire.

The U.S. Forest Service say dry conditions on Friday (July 14) increased fire activity.

A small spot fire occurred on the south central section of the fire. Due to wind and terrain the spot fire burned back toward the active fire line.

Because of favorable burning conditions two small burnouts were completed Friday. Tomorrow (July 14) weather and fire conditions will be evaluated in the morning to determine when other burnouts can be safely conducted.

Three heavy helicopters were deployed to the spot fire. These helicopters are capable of dropping up to 1500 gallons of water on the fire. This tactic allows for aggressive firefighting while not placing firefighters at unnecessary risk.

Crews working with timber mulchers and “feller buncher” timber cutters continued working to clear dead trees and downed fuels along USFS Roads 513 and 500, which were closed temporarily for public safety.

There continues to be heavy equipment and fire traffic on all the roads surrounding the fire. The Albany County Sheriff’s Department, in conjunction with fire managers, will evaluate fire conditions and discuss if evacuation orders can be lifted. As soon as it is safe to do so, orders will be lifted and residents may reoccupy their homes.

An area closure remains in place for the safety of fire crews as well as the public. The remainder of the Medicine Bow National Forest is open and ready for the public to visit.