Hundreds evacuated as wildfire sweeps through central Wyoming

A wildfire sweeping across central Wyoming has destroyed homes and forced hundreds of people to flee.

Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune/AP
Heavy smoke rises from a wildfire east of Evansville, Wyo., Monday. The fast-moving grass fire that started at a landfill destroyed an unknown number of homes and other buildings and forced hundreds of people to evacuate from a rural area in Wyoming.

A large wildfire raging in Wyoming has prompted the evacuation of hundreds of homes near Evansville and Casper.

The fire, which started at a landfill outside Evansville, has destroyed roughly a dozen homes and an unknown number of outbuildings.

Some 300 people have been driven from their homes by the wildfire which broke out on Saturday evening, according to Bob Fawcett, fire marshal with the Natrona County Fire Protection District. 

As of Monday afternoon, almost 10,000 acres had burned an evacuation orders expanded after flames resumed spreading after the wind picked back up late Monday. Fire managers say that the strong winds have hampered their efforts to contain the blaze.

"The winds were the biggest factor in it getting out of control and away from that area," Mr Fawcett told the Associated Press.

Nearly 130 firefighters are battling the blaze. It is now only 50 percent contained.

So far, there are no reports of injuries, according to authorities.

“We’re going to wait it out here. We’re going to keep praying and keep faith that our house is not burned down,” Regina McPike a resident told The Casper Star Tribune. “It’s hard. The holidays are coming, and we’re all just waiting here hoping and praying our homes are safe.”

According to Reuters, “Wildfires have consumed more than 9.2 million acres (3.7 million hectares) across the United States so far this year, compared to the 10-year average of nearly 6.4 million acres (2.6 million hectares).”

The historic drought in the West has provided ample fuel for wildfires this season.

Amid the destruction of Wyoming’s fire residents have come together for comfort and help. Star Tribune reports that, “someone started a Facebook page called Cole Creek Fire Help, which had more than 550 members by Monday night. People shared stories and photos, asked each other for details and showed pictures of lost animals.” 

This report contains material from Reuters and the Associated Press.

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