Aug 29, 2015

More than 140 acres burned along South Fork Highway, Cedar Mountain in Saturday fire

A Saturday afternoon fire burned more than 140 acres along the South Fork Highway and the eastern side of Cedar Mountain, officials say.

The area is just southwest of Cody. Authorities are investigating how it started.

Part of the burn area, as seen from the highway around 5 p.m. Cody News Co. photo by Matt Naber

The Park County Sheriff's Office announced around 7:15 p.m. Saturday that fire crews had contained the fire and that the South Fork Highway which had been intermittently closed during the fire had been reopened.

"Fire personnel are still on scene and parked along the highway dowsing hot spots, so motorists are urged to use caution when traveling in this area," the sheriff's office in a Saturday night post to its Facebook page, adding that, "Fire personnel will continue to monitor the fire scene throughout the night and into tomorrow (Sunday)."

Roughly 143.5 acres were burned in the so-called Red Lakes Fire, according to data from the Cody Interagency Dispatch Center.

The blaze was first reported at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, near 167 Road 6WX, as an agricultural burn that had gone out of control. The sheriff's office's Facebook updates on Saturday afternoon and night initially described it as having been an out-of-control burn, but hours later, the agency said the cause actually remained unknown.

"There are now conflicting reports as to exactly how the fire started, therefore the investigation continues," the Park County Sheriff's Office posted around 11 p.m.

Firefighters with the Cody and Powell fire departments and Bureau of Land Management worked the blaze, as did air tankers from Billings and a helicopter.

Power lines and poles were burned in the fire, so the sheriff's office said area power outages were possible.

(Editor's note: This post has been updated as new information became available, including about its size and cause.)

Traffic was being limited around 5 p.m. Cody News Co. photo by Matt Naber

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