In southern Wyoming near the Colorado border, the so-called Badger Creek Fire in Medicine Bow National Forest grew as evacuation orders were expanded to almost 400 homes in Albany County, according to the online US fire information service.
Gusting winds and stubborn hot, dry weather in southwestern Colorado helped stoke a largely uncontrolled wildfire that grew by almost a third to more than 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) on Monday, with more than 2,000 homes under evacuation order.
"Make no bones about it, our number one priority is the safety of incident responders", said Todd Pechota, the incident commander. Exemptions might be granted on a case-by-case basis with a written authorization from the Forest Service, which would include specific requirements for fire prevention. "Multiple aircraft are actively dropping water and retardant at this time", county fire officials said.
UPDATE (3:40 p.m.) The fire is now estimated at 150 acres, according to InciWeb. All power has been cut to the effected area as a precaution.
The Santa Fe forest closure began June 1, and the San Juan closure began Tuesday morning. Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to implement restrictions and closures, including fuel moistures, current and predicted weather, values at risk from wildfire, fire activity levels, and available firefighting resources.
U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos says additional growth was expected Wednesday because of continued hot, dry and windy conditions. On Sunday, efforts were focused on evacuation, public safety and fire assessment. The red line around the 416 Fire was the perimeter at 10:12 a.m. MDT June 11.
The communities of Mountain Home, Wold Tract, and Wycolo are under evacuation orders from Albany County officials. The State of Wyoming Type III helicopter is also on site.
However, officials said that as a result of "anticipated weather-related challenges", such as potential lightning storms, strong downdrafts, and high winds, a new pre-evacuation notice has been issued as a precaution for 163 residences and two businesses along the west side of County Road 203.
Evacuees are being asked to check in at the Harmony School off Wyoming Highway 230.
Though thunderstorms in the next few days could bring much-needed moisture to the area, officials are anxious the storm could bring lightning and gusty winds that lead to unpredictable fire behavior.
"We don't anticipate there being a big push there in that northeastern corner", Knight said.
Roads in the area of the evacuation zone have been shut down.