More favorable weather conditions allowed firefighters to be more aggressive Wednesday in battling wildfires threatening Casper and Jackson.
The Casper Mountain fire was about 50 percent contained Wednesday night.
Fire managers were throwing 22 aircraft and nearly 300 firefighters at the Sheep Herder Hill Fire on Casper Mountain, fire spokeswoman Laura McConnell said.
“They do have a couple of areas of concern, but they said overall it’s looking good,” she said.
The fire has held steady at 15,887 acres, burning about 26 square miles, according to the Casper Start Tribune.
Firefighters planned to check the burned area for additional structures that may have been damaged or destroyed, McConnell said.
The fire has destroyed at least seven homes since it started Sunday, just south of Casper. Another 750 residences were threatened.
About 400 people have been forced to leave their homes. Some stayed overnight at an American Red Cross shelter set up in Casper.
The Sheep Herder Hill Fire earlier in the week burned across where the Elkhorn Fire and now is called the Sheep Herder Hill Fire Complex.
The Horsethief Canyon Fire has burned about 2,900 acres near Jackson in the northwestern part of the state.
Thanks to cool temperatures and light winds, firefighters were able to intentionally set fire to about 100 acres of unburned areas within the Horsethief Canyon Fire perimeter Wednesday afternoon, denying the fire fuels if weather conditions turn for the worse, fire spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said.
“They’re doing that in areas where there would be a greater chance for the fire to spread from and cross the fire line,” Anzelmo-Sarles said. “So areas where it could jump and then run up a slope toward Snow King Mountain.”
Firefighters were using a DC-10 air tanker to help fight the flames from above because two helicopters were grounded for maintenance, fire officials said.
The fire is burning south of the resort town next to Snow King Mountain, a ski hill that borders the town. It was also about 10 percent contained Wednesday.
About 1,000 residents were on alert to be prepared to leave in case the fire gets too close although officials reduced the size of the alerted area Wednesday. No evacuation orders have been issued and no structures have been lost. Tourist activities in Jackson have been unaffected.
The fire has been ruled human-caused but remains under investigation.
Anzelmo-Sarles said residents of the area have overwhelmed firefighters with food donations.
“Firefighters have been offered enough cookies that the cookies could put out the fire,” she said. “It’s highly appreciated, but it’s a little overwhelming right now.”
A better alternative would be to donate money to a local charitable organization, she said.