Great Plains Fire Dispatch said Monday morning the Vineyard Fire near Hot Springs has grown to 486 acres and is 5 percent contained.
Today, firefighters plan to take advantage of cooler temperatures and higher humidity to continue building containment lines using dozers, hand crews, and engines. A Type 2 Team has been ordered and is en route.
The incident commander on the Vineyard Fire near Hot Springs has lifted all mandatory evacuations. People may return to their homes but they are asked to be ready to evacuate quickly because of erratic fire behavior.
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Heavy air tankers dropped orange slurry just above Hot Springs' main drag Sunday as fire crews tried to extinguish the Vineyard Fire.
The blaze was sparked mid-afternoon Saturday on the north side of Highway 18 about a mile east of Hot Springs and had grown to 180 acres by Sunday morning. The fire had grown to 250 acres with 5 percent containment as of 3 p.m. Sunday, according to Great Plains Fire Information.
Over the course of Saturday evening and Sunday, the fire crept northwest into the hills towards Hot Springs. As of noon Sunday, no property damage had been reported but dozens of homes were near the blaze.
Joe Johndreau of the National Forest Service, acting public information officer for the blaze, said the Vineyard Fire presented stiff challenges.
"We are dealing with extreme terrain, really rough topography; some of it is virtually inaccessible."
According to Johndreau, a structure protection group is in place along the west flank of the fire to protect the edge of Hot Springs. Bulldozer lines were put in north of the fire to try to prevent additional spreading. Hand crews are working the south end of the fire. Access to the east side of the fire was being evaluated.
Heavy air tankers along with single engine air tankers and helicopters have been brought in to suppress the fire.
Sunday's weather didn't help, with highs in the mid-90s, low humidity and southern winds blowing at 15 to 25 miles per hour and gusting up to 35 miles per hour.
Given current conditions, firefighters are prepared to combat the blaze for several days.
Firefighters are staging at the Allen Ranch, across the highway from where the fire started.
Evacuees can go to the Mueller Civic Center on South Sixth Street. The American Red Cross is coordinating a shelter there.
The Mueller Center was open for overnight evacuees Saturday evening but saw none. Richard Smith of the American Red Cross said he expected to see at least 11 people Sunday night, but he cautioned more could come as a result of new evacuations.
Smith added the Mueller Center is currently equipped to house 200 evacuees and is potentially in it for the long haul.
"We will stay here as long as the community needs."
Smith encourages donors of provisions to check in with the Red Cross at the Mueller Center or Hot Springs Fire Department prior to donating to make sure the right supplies get to the right people.
"The community outpouring has been so great," Smith said.