August 24, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
Contact: Arlee Staley, Wise River Ranger Station (406) 832-3178
What: Wildland Fire
Detected: August 21, 2015
Location: Approximately ½ mile due north of Bear Lake in the Pioneer Mountains near Wise River, MT. Lat: 45° 31.5 N Long: 113°14.54
Current Size: Estimated at 1225 acres
Resources on Fire: 12 smokejumpers, 22 local firefighters, the Blue Ridge Hotshot Crew and 1 Type 3 helicopter
Narrative: The Bear Lake Fire was reported August 20 at 8:00 p.m. which was located and confirmed aerially on August 21 at 10:00 a.m. By early afternoon, smokejumpers, retardant planes and a helicopter were activiely trying to supress the fire. The fire is burning on National Forest land. There are three Forest Service owned structions threatened at this time; Bear Lake Cabin, a small cabin at Anderson Cow Camp and a small cabin identified as the Salt Shed. The fire is burning in Spruce Fir and Lodgepole pine, which includes a large percentage of red, dead trees from the beetle epidemic with a considerable amount of downed jack-strawed fuel on the ground. These conditions are contributing to extreme fire behavior and very hazardeous conditions for the firefighters. These hazards are limiting supression tactics to indirect methods.
Due to the warming trend the fire was more active yesterday. A column formed over the NW head of the fire. There was tree torching and small crown runs. The main objectives are to keep the fire east of the Pioneer Scenic Byway, north of Maverick Mountain Ski Area and Elkhorn Resort, east of Polaris, MT, and south of the 2007 Pattingail Fire. Five of the smokejumpers will be released from the fire this morning to be made available for initial attack. The Blue Ridge Hotshots from Arizona arrived on the fire yesterday morning.
A Type 2 incident management team from the southeast will be arriving on Monday and will assume control of the fire Tuesday, August 25 at 6:00 a.m.
There will be 2 community meetings on Monday evening, August 24th , 2015: Wise River Community Building 5:00 p.m. and the Grasshopper VFD in Polaris 7:30 p.m.
Safety Concerns: Safety of the public and firefighters is always a primary concern. Snags and downed timber are a major concern to firefighters on the ground. Visibility is limited because of smoke so be very cautious when driving.
Closures: An area closure is in effect for roads and trails to the east of the fire. Developed campgrounds and day use sites adjacent to FS road 73 (Pioneer Scenic Byway), including Crystal Park, Lupine, Little Joe Campground and Grand Vista are open. All dispersal sites along this route are closed.
For more information about this fire and fires across the country, go online to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/. If you would like to be added to the email list for the Bear Lake Fire please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Arlee Staley at the number above.