Hundreds of people have been evacuated, and more than a dozen of homes were burnt, following a devastating Wyoming wildfire.
The destruction provoked by the Cole Creek fire affected more than 15 square miles of grassland, east of Casper, near Evansville. According to authorities, more than 10 buildings and several sheds and barns were damaged on Sunday.
Many of them have been scorched beyond recognition, and are now considered complete losses. In addition, more structures were ruined on Monday, as the wildfire raged on.
Hundreds of people have been displaced from their homes, and an evacuation center was established at Casper College. Moreover, the Red Cross provided food and clothing to the badly shaken residents.
Fortunately, no injury has been reported yet, but firefighters are still battling the flames, in order to stop the violent blaze from spreading even further. Approximately 130 firefighters have joined the effort to get the savage grass fire under control.
Moreover, 2 air tankers have been unloading flame retardant, and helicopters were also employed in containing the flames, by dumping water from the North Platte River. Despite this valiant struggle, the Cole Creek fire was just 50% subdued by Monday evening, according to officials.
For now it is unclear exactly what caused the wildfire to start, but a investigation is under way to establish its contributing factors.
The phenomenon began on Saturday night at a composting area, pertaining to the City of Casper Regional Landfill located approximately one mile from Evansville.
It is believed that the calamitous blaze was reinforced by unfavorable weather conditions, such as extremely low humidity, coupled with severe winds, surpassing 50 mph.
Owing to the significant risk this fire posed to the locals’ safety, authorities issued an evacuation order for the Evansville area. The warning proved to be well-founded, since on Sunday afternoon the blaze was pushed eastwards onto the grassland, and eventually reached the local community.
As Natrona County Fire Marshall Bob Fawcett has explained, the uncontrollable fire that raged across miles affected a thinly populated area, as well as a rural subdivision.
The blaze died down a bit through the night, but on Monday afternoon, the destruction escalated even further, as winds grew in intensity.
Therefore, although initially police officers had permitted the evacuated locals to return under escort and retrieve their livestock, the evacuation order was reinstated. So far, it has been extended until today, and it remains to be seen if it will be prolonged even further.
All in all, it appears that by Monday evening, approximately 10,000 acres had been reduced to ashes due to the wildfire. Authorities are currently trying to assess the exact magnitude of the destruction, including the number of homes and buildings that have been incinerated or at least partially affected.
Image Source: Fairfield Citizen