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WY residents flee wildfire

An 8,000-acre wildfire near Casper, Wyoming, forced evacuation of more than 1,000 people.

BY HEATHER MOYER | CASPER, Wyo. | August 16, 2006

An 8,000-acre wildfire near Casper, Wyoming, has forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 people.

So far only one structure is confirmed burned, but hundreds of homes are threatened. The fire was sparked by lightning on Monday and quickly spread due to the dry conditions in the region. A federal incident command team took over management of the blaze late Tuesday and more than 250 firefighters are helping battle it.

A state of emergency has been declared for Natrona County. Officials are worried about winds blowing the Jackson Canyon Fire further down Casper Mountain and into more heavily populated areas - calling the fire "very dangerous and fast moving." The neighborhoods most threatened by the fire were evacuated late Tuesday.

Bulldozers have been building a line of protection south of the city at the northern base of Casper Mountain.

Evacuees are being sent to Casper College and many are being put up in hotels by the local American Red Cross.

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