Fire managers working to contain the Gilead Fire that burned more than 700 acres in the Big Horn Mountains near Story earlier this week have signed closure orders on a handful of trails and recreational areas.
The fire is burning in a remote area about six miles west of Story in the Rock Creek area of the Bighorn National Forest.
Forest Supervisor Bill Bass ordered areas west of the Bud Love Winter Game Range, north of the Paradise Guest Ranch and east of Willow Park Reservoir to be closed.
In those areas, U.S. Forest Service trails 034, 039, 040, 043, 131, 553, 549 and 041 north from its intersection with trail 549 have been temporarily closed.
Violation of the order is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to a report released by the Forest Service on Thursday.
“We implement area closures only when necessary,” Bass said. “Protecting the health and safety of the public and our firefighters is my first concern.”
The Gilead Fire became a problem Wednesday when strong winds and hot, dry weather pushed the fire to grow from about 15 acres to 737 acres in size.
By Thursday evening, two helicopters, 45 firefighters and 10 fire engines were working to prevent the fire from growing toward more populated areas.