Update: September 18, 2012 @ 8:00 a.m.
Contact: Fire Information 406-363-3556
Paula Short 406-370-5334
FIRE NAME: Sawtooth
DATE OF DETECTION: August 30, 2012
CURRENT SIZE: 4,869 acres
LOCATION: 7 miles WSW of Hamilton, Montana
AGENCY: Bitterroot National Forest
IMT: Greg Poncin’s Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
Sawtooth Fire Nearing Containment Objectives on Valley’s Edge
Community MEETING: An update on the fire status will be presented Thursday by fire officials at the Bedford Building located at Hamilton City Hall at 7pm. The public is encouraged to attend.
SITUATION: Firefighters are nearing containment objectives of limiting the Sawtooth fire near Hamilton from advancing into the residential areas. Containment of the eastern fire perimeter along private property is nearly complete. The Stage 2 evacuation for all areas was cancelled on Sunday. Stage 1 Evacuation Notice/Warnings are still in effect and residents do need to continue to be prepared for changing conditions.
The fire overall is now 35% contained, with most of the fire growth occurring on the western edge into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Helicopters continue to fly missions of water bucket drops on hotspots to limit any fire movement on the edges of the fire into Roaring Lion Creek to the south and into the Barley Creek drainage on the northern perimeter of the fire. Hand crews on the southern edge continue to build fireline on the bottom of Sawtooth Creek and also on top of the ridgelines to the north of the fire.
A strong high pressure ridge continues to build over the region for most of this week. This will result in warm but dry conditions. These stable air conditions will help firefighters, but heavy smoke will continue to linger in the valley all week. Smoke will continue to be visible from pockets of fuel that will continue to smolder for some time. These smokes are well within the fire perimeter and pose no immediate threat to fire containment. Crews will be working on some of the largest of these areas on the eastern front to cut line around them, limiting their size to lessen smoke impacts to the community.
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: There are approximately 414 personnel assigned, including 11 crews, 9 engines, 5 water tenders, 1 dozer, and 6 helicopters.
EVACUATIONS & CLOSURES: The Stage 1 Evacuation Alert / Warning remains in effect. A Stage 1 Evacuation and Alert means that residents may need to keep a close eye on weather conditions and to be prepared to evacuate if conditions suddenly change. Sawtooth Creek Trail #123, Roaring Lion Trail 124, Ward Mountain Trail #208, and Canyon Creek Trail #525 are closed due to fire activity. Blodgett Campground is also closed.
For further information, go to www.inciweb.org
For updated weather, visit the NOAA website at http://www.noaa.gov/
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