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Business and tourism in Jackson remain unaffected by Horsethief Canyon Wildfire

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By Maria Wyllie Contributor

JACKSON, Wyo.  – The Horsethief Canyon wildfire has certainly tested the town of Jackson, Wyo.  

Starting around 3 p.m. at a residence just five miles south of town on Saturday, Sept. 8, the wildfire quickly spread to the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Snow King Resort and as of has covered an estimated 3,324 acres.

Although the evacuation advisory placed on residents of east Jackson was lifted Thursday night, the fire’s growth potential remains high, and according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson Fire Chief Willy Watsabaugh warned residents at a recent community meeting to remain vigilant, as conditions could change.

“Businesses have not been affected by the fire,” said Kate Foster, the Communications Manager for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. Foster also commented on how well different organizations of the community have come together in response to the fire. “The community has been really well prepared, and it has been really easy to put plans into action. Things couldn’t be going more smoothly.”

Aside from residents who were immediately affected by prep-evacuation measures, the majority of locals and tourists seem to be most affected by the abundance of smoke in the valley. Fire managers have warned people to refrain from outdoor activity when smoke levels are high.  

Weldon English, a photographer visiting from Arlington, Texas, found the smoke a major let down.

“It was a little disappointing that I couldn’t get the pictures I came for,” he said. “We had to settle for silhouettes in the afternoons and smoke in the mornings.”

Many tourists complained of hazy views, but most said that the fire had not impacted their trips in any significant way.

587 firefighters and support personnel are currently working by land and air to stop the human caused wildfire, which is now 36 percent contained and has cost roughly 1.7 million dollars. Officials are still investigating what started the fire and what caused it to spread so rapidly.

Maria Wyllie works for a whitewater rafting company in Jackson, Wyo. As a resident of East Jackson, her home was placed under an advised preparatory evacuation until Wednesday morning.

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