WYOMING — Crews at Pedro Mountain are fighting fire with fire, and it’s working.

Pedro Mountain Fire is bigger —it’s now burning 20,830 acres — but much of that growth is due to burnout operations. Firefighters essentially strategically set fire to fuels in the fire’s path so it has nowhere left to go. Burnouts can quickly treat larger areas in front of an approaching fire and create a sturdy, fuel-free barrier.

So, while acreage has increased, so has containment. The fire is now 37% contained.

Despite yesterday’s extreme red flag levels — 6% humidity, temperatures in the mid-90s, and gusty winds ‚ all control lines on the fire held. Two crews were sent in to assess an area of uncontrolled line in the northeast corner, but determined that no further actions are necessary. That section will continue to be patrolled.

The fire is still slowly burning through unconsumed pockets of vegetation and backing down drainages. All fire activity is occurring within established containment lines.

Operations today are focused on structure protection, addressing any areas in the interior of the fire still holding heat, and working to establish more containment. The incident management team is making appropriate adjustments to the number of crews and equipment on-scene, making some resources available to other fires throughout the region while still retaining enough personnel to continue the successes on this fire thus far.

Evacuations are still in place for the Pedro Mountain Estates, Pedro Mountain Ranch Road, and Cardwell Ranch. Natrona County Road 407/Carbon County 291 (also known as Kortes Road) is closed from the intersection of Fremont Canyon south to Leo/Sage Creek. The closure includes all roads west to the Pathfinder Reservoir.

The team understands residents’ need to return to the area affected by the fire. The team is working with local authorities and cooperators to finalize a plan for allowing residents access to their homes and properties in a timely manner as soon as the area is safe from fire activity, further fire spread, suppression repair work, and other impacts.