Update: September 5, 2012 @ 9 a.m.
Contact: Fire Information 406-333-9884
Phones: Terina Mullen 406-208-0934
Karen Tuscano 406-223-2028
Warren Bielenberg 865-919-8663 (media contact)
FIRE NAME: Pine Creek
DATE OF DETECTION: August 29, 2012
CAUSE: Human (under investigation)
CURRENT SIZE: 8,000 acres
LOCATION: Pine Creek on the east side of Paradise Valley
AGENCY: Park County, Gallatin National Forest
IMT: Greg Poncin’s Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY: Heavy smoke from other fires in Idaho and Montana blanketed the valley through most of the day. The fire experienced a low level of activity overall. Fire officials flew the Davis Creek in the morning and identified a helispot for potential use in the future. Crews continued mop up in Pine Creek Campground and Luccock Park areas. Engines continued work in the lower Pine Creek area, mopping up hot spots and clearing hazards. Firefighters continued to build fireline in the Deep Creek area.
TODAY’S WEATHER AND PLANNED ACTIVITY: Warmer temperatures and lower relative humidity will return to the area today. Smoke from fires to the west may result in lighter winds in the lower elevations and in the canyons. A change in the weather is predicted for Thursday, with a disturbance dropping in from the north and bringing in cooler temperatures, northeasterly winds and a chance of rain showers. Snow could fall on the highest peaks. Today’s forecasted high is 79 degrees with a minimum relative humidity of 12%. Winds will be out of the west at 8-12 mph with gusts to 18.
Crews will continue to reinforce the firelines and secure hot-spots on all completed line on the western edge of the fire. On the southern edge, they have installed a system of pumps and hoses to deliver water to mop-up hot spots. The Deep Creek area will be monitored and kept in check with helicopter water drops. The fire has not moved north of the North Fork of Deep Creek. Helicopters will also monitor the Davis Creek area and use bucket drops if fire activity increases. The fire in this area is hung up on broken ground and is not progressing into the drainage. Resources will be available to assist in the initial attack of any new fire starts in the fire area.
The Incident Command Post will be open for tours to the public from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm with tours leaving from the mess tent at 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30 and 3:00. The ICP is located three miles up the Mill Creek Road on the south side. Look for flagging and signs leading to the incident base. Check in with security at the front gate.
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: There are approximately 429 personnel assigned, including 12 crews, 22 engines, 6 water tenders, 1 dozer, and 4 helicopters.
SPECIAL MESSAGES: Fuels in the area are extremely dry and receptive to burning. People are urged to travel slowly and cautiously with the increased fire traffic and school buses on the roads. Be sure to obey all traffic signs and drive defensively. People who are interested in viewing the fire are encouraged to use Mallard’s Rest fishing access site on Highway 89, and refrain from stopping on East River Road.
Pine Creek Fire – Pre-evacuation order to remain in effect
Firefighters continue to work on securing fireline around the Pine Creek fire. The fire is in pretty good shape; however, the threat has not been completely removed.
Areas currently under a pre-evacuation notice (Deep Creek, Upper Deep Bench , Swingley, West Boulder, George Creek, Pool Creek, Pine Creek, Barney Creek and Luccock Park) will remain in that status until the threat is completely removed.
The pre-evacuation notice encourages residents to keep their bags packed and ready to go in the event the fire activity picks up again, given certain fire behavior conditions (weather, drying of fuels, topographic alignment).
For a more detailed description of the pre-evacuation notice and the rationale for the decision, please contact Fire Chief Dann Babcox or Greg Coleman with the DES office.
The weather forecast for Thursday calls for a NE wind, with potential precipitation (arriving late morning/noon through the afternoon). Days are getting shorter, with a shorter burning period. The fall days will become cooler, assisting firefighting efforts.
Effective at 8:00 a.m.on September 5, 2012:
Roadblock locations previously in effect (East River Road and just north of George Creek Road, Highway 89 and East River Road, Pine Creek Road, just east of KOA) will be removed.
Roads closed to travel by the general public include the following:
- Deep Creek
- Deep Creek Bench
- Lower Deep Creek Bench
- Luccock Park
Road closures are enacted in order to ensure the safe travel of firefighting resources to and from the fire, as well as the general safety of the residents in the area. Residents are encouraged to drive at slower than normal/posted speeds. A large number of firefighting resources are still working on the southern edge and the northwest corner of the fire.
The areas that changed to a pre-evacuation notice on September 4th included the following:
- Deep Creek Road
- Lower Deep Creek Bench Road
The areas that changed to a pre-evacuation notice on September 3rd included the following:
- Lower Luccock Park Road
- Barney Creek Road
- Pine Creek Road area
Other important information:
The area closure on the Gallatin National Forest is still in effect.
Residents that are returning to their homes are encouraged to stay at their property.
Residents are also encouraged to stay off the roads during the early morning and early evening hours to prevent interfering with firefighters accessing and leaving the fire area.
Residents should be aware that helicopters could still be flying overhead, as they are assisting firefighters on the ground on the southern and northwestern portions of the fire.
Parents of children riding a school bus should escort their children to the bus stop and stay with them until the bus arrives; parents should meet their students at the end of the school day at the bus stop.
A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire area in order to safeguard aerial fire operations.
For further information, go to www.inciweb.org.
Follow the Northern Rockies IMT on Facebook (Northern Rockies National IMT) or Twitter@Poncin IMT.
Park County Emergency Phone: 406-224-0808