Location: Bitterroot National Forest
Buck Horn Fire: The lightning caused Buck Horn Fire east of Hamilton in the Sapphire Mountains near Buck Horn Saddle did not grow this weekend and is still estimated at 60 acres. Containment increased to 90%. Crews continue making good progress on mop up operations and have fire line around the entire perimeter.
Due to the increased containment, some resources were released from the fire this morning. Current resources include 35 firefighters and two engines. Today, hand crews will continue to mop up (extinguish or remove burning materials) 100 feet in from the perimeter. There are no structures threatened and Skalkaho Highway remains open. The lower half of Gird Road #714 has been re-opened. An emergency closure remains in effect for upper Gird Road beginning at Buck Horn Saddle, for public and firefighter safety.
Canyon Creek Fire: The lightning caused fire west of Hamilton in upper Canyon Creek, south of Blodgett Canyon is now out. Air patrol will continue to monitor this area.
Fire Danger: Fire Danger is currently “very high” on the Bitterroot National Forest. Under these conditions fires will start easily and spread rapidly and have a quick increase in intensity, right after ignition. These fires can be very difficult to control. Fire officials are asking for the public’s help in preventing all human-caused fires as crews are stretched thin trying to contain more than 50 large wildfires burning across the region (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana).
Fire Restrictions: The Forest is still in Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. Campfires are only allowed within a designated campground or recreation site which contains a Forest-provided fire ring. Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials. For more information, go to http://firerestrictions.us/.
Smoke/Air Quality: Smoke has prompted an Air Quality Alert for much of Western Montana. Air quality in Hamilton is currently Unhealthy. The smoke is expected to linger all week and will likely be settling into the valleys each night with impacts increasing in severity in the late afternoons. Health officials recommend that people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should avoid prolonged exertion; everyone else should limit prolonged exertion. For the latest information visit http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/
Weather: The smoke is having an impact on high temperatures this week as the sun is not able to penetrate through all the particulates, meaning highs will be near normal instead of well above normal. Monsoon moisture is forecast on Wednesday with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Gusty winds and occasional lightning are the main threats.
Safety Concerns: Safety of the public and firefighters is always the primary concern. Also, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or “Drones” are not permitted to fly in areas that have Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) in place, including near wildfires.
Inciweb: For the latest fire information and maps visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov