- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Firefighters worked Tuesday to protect rural homes and businesses threatened by a wildfire that has forced the evacuation of at least 70 people and shut down a highway that leads to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park.

The fire in the Bridger-Teton National Forest started on Sunday about 5 miles north of the rural community of Bondurant in Sublette County and has burned about 10 square miles. About 300 firefighters are battling it.

The fire has destroyed one pole barn and forced the closure of a 40-mile stretch of U.S. 191/189 from Daniel Junction to Hoback Junction on Monday and Tuesday. The route is heavily used by travelers heading across Interstate 80 to visit Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. There are alternate routes available to travelers heading to northwest Wyoming, including I-25 through Casper.

Firefighters have been hitting the fire from the air with tankers dropping retardant and helicopters dropping water, Forest Service spokeswoman Nan Stinson said. “They want to keep the fire from spreading to the north and west,” Stinson said.

To the north, the fire is threatening summer homes, a hot springs pool area and a wilderness education camp.

About 70 people, including about 50 from the wilderness camp, have been evacuated, said Cindy Harger, spokeswoman for Teton County.

A few people registered with a Red Cross shelter that was opened in Jackson, about 25 miles away, but most apparently found other temporary lodging, Harger said.

Elsewhere, a small wildfire burning northeast of Dubois in a remote section of neighboring Shoshone National Forest is expected to continue growing because of hot, dry weather.

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