Shoal Creek Fire

The Shoal Creek Fire, pictured, was burning on 25 acres of the old Cliff Creek Fire scar within view of the highway Sunday in the Hoback River Canyon.

Wildland firefighters detected two new fires in the region on Sunday, one in the mountainsides of the Snake River Range above Mosquito Creek and another in the 2016 Cliff Creek Fire scar just west of Bondurant.

Cold, wet weather helped the effort to suppress the Smoky Hollow Fire, located 6 miles southwest of Wilson just past the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary in its sister forest, the Caribou-Targhee. Zero percent contained, the 17-acre wildfire was being managed with a “full suppression strategy,” and 15 firefighters were on the ground working it.

“I heard this morning it was snowing up there, and they weren’t flying,” Bridger-Teton wildfire specialist Andy Norman said.

The cause of the Smoky Hollow Fire was listed as undetermined. Its start location is directly adjacent to the Green Knoll Trail, which is accessed via Mosquito Creek.

High winds and steep, rugged terrain on slopes as steep as 50% had been impeding progress on the firefighting effort Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Shoal Creek Fire was reported Sunday within eyeshot of the highway in Hoback Canyon. Listed at 25 to 30 acres, the blaze was being fanned by high winds — winds that were too strong for aerial assistance over the weekend.

On the upside, it was moving through recent grassy regrowth that’s sprouted in the aftermath of the 2016 Cliff Creek Fire, which cuts down on available fuels and, thus, the blaze’s intensity.

“Fire is looking good today, some smoldering in pockets of timber interior,” fire personnel posted to TetonFires.com on Monday.

Seven engines, a helicopter and a water tender — for a total of about 35 people — were assigned to the Shoal Creek Fire.

Although firefighters got a reprieve from fire-conducive weather early this week, warmer and windy conditions are returning.

As near as the Upper Wind River Basin, the National Weather Service has issued a “fire weather watch,” which means that critical fire weather conditions are forecasted. That watch takes effect Wednesday afternoon.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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