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Alder Creek, Trail Creek, Christensen, and Black Mountain Fire Update August 4, 2021

Alder Creek

Size: 11,313 Acres

Containment: 10%

Location: 7 miles west of Wise River, MT

Start Date: July 8, 2021

Cause: Unknown

Total personnel: 307

Alder Creek Fire: Crews completed handline around the cabins in the Pattengail Creek area and have completed all procedures identified in the structure plan. Today, crews and heavy equipment will prepare dozer line toward the Big Hole River, backhaul excess equipment, continue preparation work along Highway 73 and scout areas to consider for aerial ignitions if needed. Fire potential remains a concern, sustaining the need for firefighters to identify areas to burn in sections using roads and natural features such as the river corridor.

Trail Creek

Size: 35,661 Acres

Containment: 6%

Location: 20 miles west of Wisdom, MT

Start Date: July 8, 2021

Cause: Lightning

Total personnel: 137

Trail Creek Fire: Recent moisture continues to limit fire activity in the near term. Crews anticipate several more days to complete preparation work along the Gibbonsville Road corridor and Lost Trail area with fallers, crews and masticators. The structure group will complete all structure preparation today, test sprinkler systems as needed and patrol the area.


Size: 8,426 Acres

Containment: 0%

Location: 12 miles west of Wise River, MT

Start Date: July 16, 2021

Cause: Unknown

Total personnel: 18

Christensen Fire: Crews completed handline, checked fire perimeter for heat, extinguished hot spots near containment lines, and established a point to anchor our operations on the west side of the fire. Today, firefighters will scout options for line placement utilizing the Big Hole River corridor as a natural break.

Black Mountain

Size: 1,042 Acres

Containment: 0%

Location: 13 miles south of Jackson, MT

Start Date: July 17, 2021

Cause: Lightning

Total personnel: 53

Black Mountain Fire: Firefighters will take direct suppression actions along the fire’s edge today in order to prevent fire growth. This will help to reduce exposure to firefighters and resource commitment over time. Crews and Incident Management Team supervisors will continue to discuss these actions in depth to ensure that the accepted risk of placing crews where snags are present and road access is limited remains reasonable. Lookouts will be posted to observe fire behavior, crew capabilities will match the mission, medical resources for extraction in the event of an injury will remain in place and weather will be closely monitored. Engines and heavy equipment will continue to prepare indirect fire line along Snowshoe Hare Road and Forest Road 7335.

Weather: Poor overnight humidity recovery and a thermal belt at 6,000 and 7,000 feet will precede drier and warmer weather today. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 80’s with relative humidities between 17-25%. Isolated dry thunderstorms remain possible during the afternoon and evening hours, which could produce strong outflow winds in the fire areas today.

Major Closures:

  • Hwy 43 and Pioneer Byway remain open. Motorists are asked to slow down and be on the alert for firefighters, heavy smoke, and downed trees. Please check the Montana DOT Road Report website for current conditions.

  • Continental Divide Trail: Closed from Lemhi Pass north to Mussigbrod Creek.

  • Big Hole National Battlefield is closed until further notice. North and South VanHouten, Miner Lakes, Twin Lakes, May Creek and Divide Bridge Campgrounds are closed.

  • Forest Closure orders are in effect for all three fires.


Montana air quality alert for Beaverhead County:

Idaho air pollution forecast for Lemhi County:

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect for SW Montana:

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect for Central ID:


Beaverhead County Sheriff has Stage 1 Evacuation Orders in effect for Alder Creek Community and Highway 43 from Mile Marker 35 to the County Line at Mile Marker 41.5. This includes the residents on Doolittle Creek Road and North Doolittle Creek Road. . Stage 2 is in place for the southside of Hwy 43 from Alder Creek Road to Dickie Bridge, and the westside of Pioneer Scenic Byway from airport to Harriet Lou Road Beaverhead Sheriff.

Lemhi County Sheriff has contacted residences in threatened areas on the west side of the Trail Creek Fire in Idaho and placed in “Set” evacuation status. Info: 208-756-8980.

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