Start Date: August 28, 2012
New Fire Information Phone Number’s: 1-877-608-0026, 1-877-608-0120, 1-877-608-0020
Cause: Unconfirmed, under investigation
Location: 10 miles south east of Butte, MT
Current Size 4,141 acres
Resources Assigned: 9-20 person crew, 17 engines, 3 helicopters, 2 airtankers. Additional resources requested.
Closures: BLM has closed OHV trail/connector routes #24, 25, 26 from Whiskey Gulch Trailhead to a point just north of I-90, located T2N R6W, sections 23-26 and 35. The Forest Service has closed Rader Creek/Moose Creek Road #240 from Homestake Pass T2N R7W, Section 13 to Highway 2, T1N R6W Section 16. Fire officials are asking the public to avoid using Highway 2 between Butte and Whitehall to provide for the safety of firefighters and the public. Recreationists expecting to ride in the Pipestone OHV area north of I-90 over Labor Day weekend are asked to make alternative plans in case of a closure due to fire activity.
Crews worked on handlines along most of the fire’s edge while engines continued to provide structure point protection; sufficient fireline has been constructed to allow some crews to move into mop-up mode. Work on the northern perimeter of the fire was limited by difficult terrain and limited access, scouting for future protection efforts is ongoing. Active burning also occurred in unburned green island pockets within the interior. The fire continued to burn actively Friday. Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office has a standing evacuation order for the Lower Rader Creek and upper Toll Mountain areas. Whiskey Gulch residents have been notified that they might need to leave depending on fire activity.
Jefferson County Sherriff has lifted the evacuation order for lower Toll Mountain and Quarry Road.
Fire personnel will continue to protect structures as first priority, securing the areas within the unburned islands of fuels surrounding the remaining structures, scout and construct fireline through all divisions. Additionally, 100% mop up procedures within 100’ from structures is being implemented. Resources are limited, but as additional incoming resources arrive they will be assigned and begin constructing fireline and securing the fire’s perimeter.
Friday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. community meetings began and will be held every evening in the Whitehall Community Center, 11 N. Division St. All landowners, evacuees and interested individuals are invited to attend. The meetings will be broadcast live from the local cable network channel 49.1.
There is a Red Flag Warning over the fire from 11:00am to 9:00pm because of gusty winds up to 35 mph and low humidity.. Today’s temperatures will range from 68 to 80 degrees with higher elevations being slightly cooler.
Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office has confirmed 14 primary residences and 6 additional structures have been lost, along with a camp trailer, a semi-trailer and numerous cars, trucks and ATV’s. The team is working closely with local officials to determine any additional structure losses, the type, location and notification. Evacuees that have a need to return to their property for a short time are asked to make escort arrangements through a public information officer who will be at the Whitehall Ambulance Barn. Law enforcement escorts will only be available beginning at 7:30 a.m. with mandatory completion at 10:30 a.m. These escorts depend on fire activity.
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Butte BLM, Jefferson County, local and rural volunteer fire departments, MT DNRC. The fire is listed on Inciweb: www.inciweb.org