Pilgrim Creek update, suspicious fire in Hoback Canyon

This article was published at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 4. Buckrail will continue to post updates on the fires around Jackson.

JACKSON, Wyo. — While the Pilgrim Creek fire continues to burn, a new fire was discovered in Hoback Canyon. Both fires are thought to be human-caused, with no lightning in both areas for weeks. 

The Pilgrim Creek fire started on Wednesday, Sept. 30. With winds out of the north, the fire had its largest increase on Friday, Oct 2., to 180 acres.

Luckily the weather is expected to keep the fire behavior at bay in the coming days. Cool evening temperatures and the shorter fall days will also help to limit the daytime burn period. 

On Saturday, an aircraft mapped and provided an updated and accurate acreage from the fire activity on Oct. 2, mapping the fire’s perimeter at 180 acres. The fire remains north of Pilgrim Creek and continues to experience isolated torching with minimal spotting.

Currently, there are eight wildland firefighters from the Caribou Targhee National Forest, the Teton Interagency Wildland Fire Module, and one helicopter committed to the incident. A drone pilot was able to help with the planning and mapping of the fire. 

Crews are working to keep the fire from crossing the Pilgrim Creek. They are also collecting information about the fires activity, sending it to managers in town. 

The cause of the fire is still undetermined and is currently under investigation. When determining wildland fire cause, investigators look at lightning maps and use a methodical, systematic approach to determine what caused the ignition of a wildfire. 

Lightning was in the area 10 days prior to the detection of the Pilgrim Fire; however, several other environmental and human factors are also considered to be suspect at this time. 

There are no special concerns for communities located to the south and east at this time. The pilgrim creek drainage and road are closed to help support public safety in the fire’s vicinity. During the initial attack phase on Oct. 1, the fire did spot ahead of the fire’s perimeter requiring firefighters to retreat and re-evaluate tactics.

The Buck Creek fire, located in the Hoback Canyon area, is located in a shade of timber, close to a ridgeline, above 8000 feet in elevation.

Photo: BTNF

This fire is located within the BTNF fire restriction area. The BTNF Facebook page posted about the fire saying, “Buck Creek fire’s location is also surrounded by multiple hazards, powerlines, a highway, is adjacent to the Hoback community, on a very steep slope for firefighters all requiring helicopter landings in remote and hazardous landing zones.” adding, “Over the last few days these small fires have exposed many individuals to unnecessary risk to life and safety and continue to be a high cost to the public.”

The Bridger Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park are in high danger and campfires are not allowed outside of the Teton and Gros Ventre wilderness areas.

Hunters and recreators are again reminded to follow fire restrictions, pack extra layers, and consider environmental and public costs before starting a fire.

As with any wildfire detection and incident, the public’s help with any information is always helpful and appreciated.  Information can be shared to 307-739-5424.

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