US 16 closure continues; Fire still being suppressed

The closure of U.S. Highway 16 through Tensleep Canyon due to the Hatchery Fire continues, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation is ceasing the single lane escort through the closure as was being done earlier, WYDOT's Cody Beers reports. People are encouraged to do so.

The closure area runs from Wyoming Highway 436 (Rome Hill Road) east of Ten Sleep to the Hazleton Road, 5 miles east of Powder River Pass. Allow 1.5 hours to travel through the closure area. Check the WYDOT website for current road information:

In addition, the BLM Worland Field Office has temporarily closed both the North Brokenback Road (BLM Road 1414) and the South Brokenback Road (BLM Road 1415) in their entirety for public safety and to aid the firefighting effort.

“Our first concern is for the safety of the firefighters and the public,” said Incident Commander Scott Campbell. “We are working hard to minimize the risk to residences and structures in Ten Sleep Canyon and in the Deer Haven and Meadowlark areas.”

The Hatchery Fire was discovered at about 1 p.m. on Friday, July 22, and within five hours the fire had burned about 2,600 acres. The size of the fire is still reportedly around 3,000 acres. The fire began on private land near U.S. Highway 16 and is burning on the north side of Tensleep Canyon about 7 miles northeast of Ten Sleep. No containment has been reported.

The Sheriff's Office and Worland Police Department issued an evacuation order Friday night for the area in the vicinity of Meadowlark Lake and the West Tensleep Lake Road corridor on the Bighorn National Forest.

The fire is being managed by the Bighorn National Forest, BLM Worland Field Office, Washakie County and the Wyoming State Forestry Division. It is expected that management of the fire will be turned over to a type 2 incident command team on July 24.

Suppression efforts are being aided by three single engine air tankers, a very large air tanker (VLAT) and three helicopters.

photo h/t Michelle Olsen

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