CRAIG, Colo. (AP) – Western wildfire officials worried Monday about low humidity and high winds expected this week as they battle several big fires and a number of smaller fires in Colorado and Wyoming, including one that grew so quickly it was detected by a satellite.
A new fire north of Cody, Wyo., near the Wyoming-Montana border dubbed the Hole in the Wall fire began overnight and was visible by a weather satellite early Monday.
It was measured at 40 acres and was spreading rapidly, said Steve Segin, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
Firefighters said allowing the fire to burn will help wildlife by keeping future fires at bay and allowing new vegetation to grow.
Also in Wyoming, the Red Rock Fire was being allowed to burn on the Bridger-Teton National Forest about 25 miles northeast of Jackson and has blackened nearly 100 acres.
The fire danger in parts of Colorado and Wyoming was listed as high since dead fuels could ignite readily.
In northwest Colorado, about two dozen wildfires kept firefighters hopping over the weekend, including two minor fires that came close to a Shell oil and gas pumping and storage facility southeast of Rangely.
The Interagency Fire Management Unit allowed those fires to burn to remove vegetation from the area to help wildlife and protect the oil and gas facility from future fires, spokeswoman Lynn Barclay said.
“We started working on the hazardous fuel breaks around the Shell resources in 2009. This is a fire-prone area and our planning and work has helped in managing these fires,” fire management officer Garner Harris said.
The largest of those fires was 50 acres.
Along the Front Range, storms Saturday night helped tamp down the Beaver Creek fire, which burned 100 acres since it began Friday in northern El Paso County.
Officials said 144 firefighters were working the fire and hoped to have it contained Monday.
The fire came within a quarter mile of some homes on Friday, but no damage or injuries were reported.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)