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Wildfire near Jackson continues to grow

A fire in Jackson Hole has had people on edge as it burns dangerously close to a housing development.

Diane Gilmore described seeing “huge fireballs,” as she and her son Josh, were just two of dozens of people watching from the side of Highway 89, as night fell in Jackson Hole and flames from the Little Horsethief Fire lit up the mountains.

“You’d see flames shooting hundreds of feet up into the air,” Gilmore recalled of when the fire started Saturday afternoon.

“My best friend’s house is like right were the fire was,” said Josh Gilmore. “It’s kinda scary.”

Firefighers still aren’t sure what started the blaze in the little canyon south of Jackson. They’re just focusing on keeping people safe.

The fire started around 3 p.m. Saturday. Within two hours, flames had spread across hundreds of acres and people on Deer and Elk drives were told to evacuate.

“Your immediate concern is for the people who live in the houses nearby and they were — you just wanna make sure everyone’s going to stay safe,” Diane said.

By 9 p.m., the evacuation order was lifted under a couple of conditions: residents had to endure a loud night of fire fighting, and as high winds and low humidity are in the forecast for Sunday, they might have to leave their homes again.

Thankfully, the American Red Cross is prepared for evacuees.

“We’ve got resources, we’ve got contacts, people that can make donations and stuff like that,” said Red Cross volunteer Craig Kirkpatrick, who was waiting at an information center set up at Jackson Hole High School.

The fire has burned more than 800 acres and is moving northwest-west toward Smokey Mountain and the Snow King recreation area.

Crews from the Great Basin fire district have come to help the three local agencies already battling this blaze.

Highway 89 is still open to travel.

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