The spread of the Whit Fire west of Cody, WY slows

(UPDATED at 11:25 a.m. MDT August 5, 2016)

Whit Fire
Whit Fire August 3, 2016. Photo by Charlie Springer.

The Whit Fire 13 miles west of Cody, Wyoming was much less active Thursday than the day before. According to the aerial mapping during the last two nights it grew on the southwest and northeast sides by a total of several hundred acres, but the incident management team is still calling it 9,647 acres. The discrepancy could be related to issues with the imagery Wednesday night.

One home and seven outbuildings have been destroyed in the fire.

Whit Fire map
Map of the Whit Fire as detected by aerial mapping. The white line was the estimated perimeter at 10 p.m. MDT August 3, 2016. The red line was the perimeter at 12:30 a.m. MDT on August 5, 2016.

On Thursday two water-scooping air tankers, CL-415’s, were delighting tourists that were on US Highway 16 driving past the Buffalo Bill Reservoir on the way to Yellowstone National Park. The aircraft were skimming along the water surface loading about 1,600 gallons into their tanks and then flying to the fire, assisting firefighters by dropping water to slow the spread. The reservoir is only six miles from the fire, which enabled quick turnarounds.

CL-415 Buffalo Bill Reservoir
Air tanker 263, a CL-415, scoops water from the Buffalo Bill Reservoir at 8:01 p.m. MDT on August 4, 2016 while working the Whit Fire. 

At times the vehicles stopped on or near the roadway created a safety hazard. Kristie Salzmann, a spokesperson for the fire, said law enforcement is now actively discouraging that practice. There are other locations that can be used safely, including various locations in the state park, and the boat launch which is closed since no boaters are allowed on the lake while the scoopers are working. The same aircraft are expected to be assigned to the fire on Friday.

Whit Fire
Whit Fire August 3, 2016. InciWeb photo.

Todd Pechota’s Type 1 incident management team assumed command of the fire at 6 a.m. on Friday.

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