Fire threatens 170 homes in Jackson Hole |

Fire threatens 170 homes in Jackson Hole

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) – A fire that started in a recreation area had burned through 1,100 acres of dry, dense vegetation on Monday, forcing the evacuation of campers and threatening scores of expensive homes outside the trendy resort town.

”A lot of people are coming in here and getting boxes for some of their jewelry or some of their important documents to have them in their car,” Annette Helsabeck, a manager at Hungry Jack’s General Store. ”They’re pretty scared.”

The fire was first reported Sunday at a half-acre, about six miles southwest of Jackson. An unknown number of campers were evacuated, and the fire spread toward several subdivisions containing about 170 homes valued at $500,000 and up.

Shifting winds of 25 mph whipped the blaze into treetops, as temperatures hovered in the 80s. The fire had been estimated at 300 acres but better mapping Monday evening led firefighters to increase the acreage, Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Joan Anzelmo said.

By Monday evening, the fire traveled no closer to the mountainside homes, the closest of which were in a subdivision two to three miles away. All roads and businesses remained open.

Residents ”have been notified to prepare for an evacuation call,” said Jay Anderson, spokesman for the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Tom Ninnemann, a Grand Teton National Park spokesman, said there is a lot of dry vegetation in the area to feed a fire.

The Forest Service assigned 180 firefighters to join the 24 already on the ground. Eight helicopters and four air tanker planes also were working against the flames, authorities said.

By Monday evening efforts to battle the fire were handed to a Type I incident team that is capable of handling complex fires.

Smoke was visible from Jackson but the resort town was not threatened, officials said.

”It’s not affecting travel in or out of the valley, and it’s not affecting visibility,” Ninnemann said.

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