The Teton Interagency Fire Center reports the Bear Cub fire has now grown to over two thousand acres. First spotted around 3 pm Tuesday, the fire burned rapidly through beetle-killed timber on the southern portion of the South Fork of the Buffalo River about 27 miles east of Moran in Fremont County, Wyoming.
Bridger Teton National Forest spokesperson Mary Cernicek said a visible column of smoke appeared almost immediately as the fire crowned in treetops. A crowning fire is one that moves through the canopy of trees instead of burning along the ground. Cernicek said that makes it very difficult to fight.
Ten McCall smokejumpers hope to establish a strong holding point and begin digging fire lines along the southwestern perimeter of the fire. Additional firefighting resources have been ordered and were being shuttled to the fire Wednesday morning. No structures have been threatened and no closures have yet been ordered.
Although the fire is located well within the Teton Wilderness boundary wind patterns are forcing smoke into the community of Dubois, Wyoming. Firefighters said the Bear Cub fire had high potential for growth.
The fire is believed to have been started by lightning and the fire center said maps indicated lightning activity over the past 48 hours.
The fire danger rating for the Bridger Teton National Forest is Very High and partial fire restrictions are in effect for the entire forest. The Fire Center said forecasts predict storms could produce more lightning strikes in the region Thursday.