Two community open houses are scheduled this week:
• Tuesday, September 28, from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm at the Gibbonsville Community Center, Gibbonsville, Idaho.
• Thursday, September 30, from 6 pm to 7 pm at the Wise River Community Center, Wise River, Montana.
Incident personnel will be on hand to brief community members and answer questions regarding the Trail Creek, Alder Creek, and Sand Lake fires. Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, we encourage everyone to adhere to current CDC guidelines regarding use of masks, social distancing, and handwashing.
Over the past few days, fire managers took advantage of lower fuel moistures and favorable winds to conduct strategic firing operations with the goal of reducing fuels and increasing containment. Implementing these direct firefighting strategies will help secure and strengthen direct and indirect line previously put in. While there is cooler weather and some moisture beginning Tuesday, it is not predicted to be a season-ending event.
TRAIL CREEK FIRE [Start Date: July 8, 2021 | Cause: Lightning | 57,052 acres | 75% contained]: Firefighters completed tactical firing operations around structures at Morgan Jones Lake and the Hirschy ranch equipment cabin and will mop-up and patrol the area. Crews will continue to prepare line to tie into Big Hole Pass. Strategic firing operations on the western edge have been successful and crews will finish on Monday and begin mop-up. Helicopters continue to support operations with water drops and monitoring. Stump holes and logs continue to burn out in the interior, creating some smoke, but overall, not much heat remains in much of the fire area. Crews will winterize water equipment around Gibbonsville residences to prepare for the incoming weather.
ALDER CREEK FIRE [Start Date: July 8, 2021 | Cause: Lightning | 39,474 acres | 45% contained]: With warmer temperatures and higher winds, fire activity increased yesterday on the northwest side of the fire. However, due to favorable southwest winds, the spot
fire reported Saturday pushed parallel to the fireline towards Tucker Creek where firefighters were able to tie it back into itself. Ground operations were supported by helicopters doing water drops. Fire behavior was quiet along the southeast edge of the fire and crews continued suppression repair activities. Engine and hand crews will monitor and patrol fireline southwest from Bryant Creek Road to Sawlog Creek and continue structure protection where needed.
SAND LAKE FIRE [Start Date: September 1, 2021 | Cause: Unknown | 228 acres]:
Fire growth and activity on the Sand Lake Fire has been minimal and will be monitored by air.
WEATHER/FIRE BEHAVIOR: Elevated fire weather is expected through tonight as warm, dry, and breezy conditions continue. Temperatures will be in the low-70s with relative humidity values in the teens. Tomorrow, an incoming cold front may bring some light precipitation and much cooler temperatures.
SAFETY: Gibbonsville, Idaho, remains in “Ready” evacuation status. U.S. Route 93, Highway 43 (Chief Joseph Pass to Wise River), and the Pioneer Scenic Byway are OPEN to through traffic. Please be careful of fire crews working in these areas and watch for trees, rocks, and animals.
• Portions of the Continental Divide Trail remain closed.
• The Big Hole National Battlefield is closed until further notice.
• May Creek Campground and Steel Creek Campground are closed.
• Closure orders remain in effect on the Salmon-Challis National Forest (www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/scnf/alerts-notices), the
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest (www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/bdnf/alerts-notices), and the Bureau of Land Management.