A lightning-ignited fire burning in the Teton Wilderness may spread north, but it will be checked to the south, according to the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s plan for managing the blaze.

The fire east of Gravel Ridge in the Box Creek drainage was burning in dense timber with moderate ground fuels 2.5 miles or more north of Buffalo Valley, according to a Forest Service press release.

“It’s burning in wilderness,” said Todd Stiles, Blackrock district ranger, “so in that respect we do like to let fire play its natural role.”

Winds are likely to push it north, deeper into wilderness and areas that burned in 1988 and 2000, Stiles said. Officials predict fire scars there will naturally limit its spread to the north and east.

Managers also factored fire conditions, location and potential risk to firefighters in deciding to allow the fire to burn.

But crews are prepared to fight if it starts to move south toward Buffalo Valley guest ranches, cabins and year-round residents. A Type 4 Incident Commander and Type 3 light helicopter crew from Swan Valley, Idaho, are standing by at the Blackrock Ranger District, the press release said.

“We don’t want the fire really advancing south,” Stiles said. “We are actively managing it, and there can be more than one strategy and objective.”

Flying over the site Sunday morning, Stiles got a good look at the blaze and surrounding terrain: “It really was doing very little. It was kind of smoldering.”

Details on the fire and other wildfire information are available at TetonFires.com. To report smoke or a fire, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307-739-3630.

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or rebecca@jhnewsandguide.com.

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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