Britania Fire Now 64 Percent Contained; Over 26,000 Acres in Size
The Britania Mountain Fire west of Wheatland continued to grow Thursday afternoon, but fire managers announced a large increase in containment resulting from firefighters' successful construction of fire line.
The fire was listed at 26,028 acres in size as of Thursday afternoon, and is now 64 percent contained. As of Friday morning, 436 personnel were assigned to the blaze.
Three residences have been confirmed destroyed -- one in Albany County and two in Platte County. The property owners have been notified. Fire managers say 15 outbuildings have been reported lost thus far.
Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for residences north of Palmer Canyon Road in Platte County west of the Laramie River to the Albany County line. Evacuations were also in place for Albany County residents from the Platte County line to Cottonwood Road in the west.
Palmer Canyon Road remains closed from Kittel Road in Platte County to Cottonwood Road in Albany County. Marble Road and Van Ortwick Hill Road both remain closed, but Fletcher Park Road has reopened.
Residents of the Laramie Peak Ranch subdivision are still under a pre-evacuation notice, meaning they should be prepared to leave the area within 30 minutes in the event an evacuation becomes necessary.
On Thursday, new fire line was constructed on the north side of the fire, contributing to the increase in containment. On the fire's eastern edge, crews mopped up and patrolled containment line that had been established over previous shifts.
Additional containment was also gained on the southeastern corner, as crews successfully constructed direct fire line in lighter fuels. Roads in the area were also used as indirect fire lines so that firing operations could be conducted along Palmer Canyon Road.
From the air, both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters were used to support firefighters on the ground.
On the southwest corner of the fire, where terrain is more rugged, fire crews identified roads that could be used as indirect fire lines. Firefighters then began preparing those areas so that firing operations could continue in order to stem the wildfire's spread in the area.
On Friday, fire crews planned to continue securing, mopping up and patrolling the fire's northern edge to gain additional containment in that area. As for the eastern flank, crews were set to patrol established containment lines and also work to increase containment in the area.
Crews on the southern edge will continue to protect structures and other values at risk, continuing burnout operations while holding the fire north of the Palmer Canyon Road. Firefighters in the area will receive additional support from aircraft.
For the southwest and western edges of the fire, fire crews were set to continue preparing indirect fire line.
A cold front was expected to pass over the fire area, bringing a positive change in weather after two days of red flag warnings. Temperatures were expected to be a bit cooler Friday, with higher relative humidity.
Winds were expected to be breezy, blowing west-northwest from eight to 16 mph gusting to 24 mph. A chance for isolated thunderstorms in the fire area could also bring erratic outflow winds.
A temporary flight restriction remains in effect around the entire fire area. That includes unmanned aircraft systems, or drones. The restriction is expanding to incorporate recent fire growth to the south.
Evacuees and property owners affected by the fire in Albany County are asked to email Albany County Emergency Management at firstname.lastname@example.org with contact information including their name, address, email and phone number. Emergency managers intend to use those details to share additional information.