The Shale Creek Fire was spotted by local officials while conducting a patrol on Friday, July 16, at approximately 2:20 p.m., according to a press release from the United States Forest Service. Additional Teton Interagency Fire resources were immediately dispatched to the area. Upon arrival, the fire behavior was described as “group torching, running and spotting.”
The fire is burning in the Shale Creek drainage, between Indian Creek and Commissary Ridge, approximately a half-mile from Little Bear Trail and 2 miles north of Forsest Service 10155 road. Bridger-Teton National Forest officials are evaluating an area closure; until one is put in place they are asking the public to stay out of the area to allow fire personnel and aircraft to work safely.
Due to the steep terrain, limited resources available and lack of access, no ground resources were committed to the fire on Friday. Two single-engine air tankers (SEATs) were utilized to slow the fires spread, with an additional type 3 helicopter on scene to assess the spread, growth potential and ensure no members of the public were out in front of the fire.
Additional ground and air resources arrived over the weekend, along with a Type 3 Incident Management Team, which took over command of the fire Sunday morning.
The fire is burning in aspen stands along with mixed conifer that has been significantly impacted by beetle kill. With storm systems passing in the afternoon, gusty winds up to 30 miles per hour helped fan the fire’s spread. A reconnaissance flight was able to map the fire’s perimeter at approximately 75 acres with numerous spots up to a half mile away from the main fire on Saturday. By Sunday night, the blaze was at 90 acres. Ahead of the main fire are two fire scars from the 2017 Pole Creek Fire and the 2000 Fontenelle Fire.
The plans for Sunday’s operations were to gain access to the fire for ground resources and assess various suppression strategies given the resources available, expected weather and fire behavior.
The fire danger rating on the Bridger-Teton National Forest remains at “very high” and Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect across the forest. To find out more, visit Tetonfires.com. To report a wildfire, abandoned or unattended campfire call Teton Interagency Dispatch at 307-739-3630 or dial 911.