DATE OF DETECTION: July 6, 2012
CURRENT SIZE: 2,500 acres
CONTAINMENT: 60% (expected containment August 3, 2012)
LOCATION: 42 miles south of Darby, MT (32 air miles)
AGENCY: U.S. Forest Service – Bitterroot National Forest (MT) & Salmon-Challis National Forest (ID)
YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY: Firefighters took advantage of the cooler temperatures, higher relative humidity, and cloud cover today. The northwest, north, east, and south sides of the fire are largely contained. Crews in these areas focused on locating and taking care of hot spots further in from the fire edge. Efforts yesterday (Friday, July 27) focused on controlling the west portions of the fire perimeter. In addition, on the west, crews began to establish hose lays with pumps to directly attack and suppress hot areas along the fire’s edge. No fire growth occurred on Friday. The structure protection group continued to finalize protection plans for residences in the Alta area of the Hughes Creek, MT drainage.
TODAY’S WEATHER AND PLANNED ACTIVITY: Temperatures on Saturday are expected to be in the upper 70’s, relative humidity in the upper teens and light winds out of the southwest. No spread is expected on the fire but there could be isolated interior torching of trees. The main focus of Saturday’s efforts will be to continue direct hand line construction by hotshot crews on the west side of the fire, with the support of helicopters. Elsewhere along the perimeter, crews will continue to grid the area and suppress any remaining heat near the fire line and around interior unburned, green islands.
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: 391 fire personnel, including twelve 20-person crews, five helicopters, three engines, one dozer and four water tenders.
SPECIAL CONCERNS: The Stage 1 Evacuation Notification is still in effect for residents in the upper Hughes Creek, MT area (above Chrandal Creek). People remain on notification of the possibility of evacuation if fire threat becomes imminent. Thirty-seven structures remain threatened in Hughes Creek, MT drainage with a structure protection plan in place. The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain with standing dead timber, thus posing a safety risk to firefighters and a challenge for building fire line.
Bitterroot National Forest: An area closure around the fire was put into effect on July 13 due to active wildfire conditions. The closure includes Trails #184 and #106 (Divide Trail) and Mine Creek Road #5688. The Hughes Creek Road in Montana is closed to non-residents at the intersection with Highway 473 (West Fork Road).
Salmon-Challis National Forest: Sections of the following trails are closed: #106, #141, #110, #105, #213, #142. These trails access the ridgeline trail dividing Idaho and Montana, near the active fire.
For more detailed and updated fire and closure information, visit www.inciweb.org.
Air quality monitors are in use at the Painted Rocks Fire Department and North Fork Ranger Station. Current air quality information for the area can be found at www.satguard.com/usfs/fleet.aspx