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Newcastle Field Office
Release Date: 07/19/11
Contacts: Beth Doten    
  Whoopup Fire Information    
  (307) 746-2782    

Whoopup Fire Update No. 2

Fourteen homes were evacuated last night in the Ferguson Canyon sub-division and two South Dakota resident homes south of Highway 16.

The Whoopup fire was reported yesterday morning at 1 a.m. on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land about 2 ½ miles west of Elk Mountain Lookout, approximately 10 miles southeast of Newcastle, Wyo.

One outbuilding, a small shed, was lost.

The cause of the fire is unknown but believed to be lightning.

The estimated size is 4,335 acres.

Joe Lowe, incident commander of the Rocky Mountain Fire Team C, and his staff have arrived and will take over fire operations at 6 p.m. tonight.

Firefighting resources include one Type III helicopter and two air-tankers. Additional Type III and Type I helicopters and air tankers have been ordered. Other responding units include state, federal, county resources, air support, and fire overhead, along with volunteer fire departments from nearby communities.

Leadership from Weston County, Wyoming, Custer County, South Dakota, the BLM Newcastle Field Office, the U.S. Forest service, and volunteer departments intend to put the fire out as safely and quickly as possible.

The fire is not contained.

Special concerns include: high temperature, erratic winds, and flashy grass fuel. Rain last night was not sufficient to stop the fire and lightning has started some new fires.

The higher temperatures are a real problem, said Jason Virtue, incident commander.  “We are continuing to fight this fire aggressively,” said Jay Esperance, BLM, Fire Management Officer. “Interagency cooperation is outstanding.”

Esperance said the public should be aware of the high temperatures that are expected through the next few days and should use extra caution while in the woods. “The current fire danger throughout the Black Hills is moderate to very high,” said Esperance.

Updates will be sent as more information is obtained.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Newcastle Field Office   1101 Washington Boulevard      Newcastle, WY 82701-2968  

Last updated: 07-20-2011