Alpine Lake Fire crews changing out; Blaze totals 40,853 acres; Snow/rain possible early next week

The Alpine Lake Fire smoke plume seen from the Wind River Range south of Lander six days ago.  Photographer Scott Rockhold thought the cloud was a thunderhead at first, before realizing it was a smoke plume. (Photo by Scott Rockhold)

By Ernie Over, managing editor,

(Crowheart, Wyo.) – For the second day in a row, there was no appreciable growth in the Alpine Lake Fire perimeter, and the blaze now covers 40,853 acres on the Wind River Reservation. Of that total, some 530 acres has burned in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness Area of the Shoshone National Forest.

The Wyoming Hot Shot team based at Greybull will “time out” on the fire at the end of today and will be replaced with a team of nine smokejumpers from Boise, Idaho. The BIA Wind River Forestry Fire Information Officer Karl Brauneis said the smokejumpers will be trucked to the fire. The Bighorn Basin crew remains on scene and continues its work of fire line construction. The Boise jumpers will join the Bighorn team in that work.

Brauneis said the smoke covering most of the Wind River Basin is a combination of the plume from the Alpine Lake Fire and from fires burning further west in Oregon, Idaho and Eastern Washington. “Multiple fires to the west continue to send smoke our way,” he said.

Brauneis said the forecast for early next week has a potential for both rain and/or snow, which would help lay the fire down and reduce the smoke plume.