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Alder Creek, Trail Creek, & Sand Lake Fire Updates 09/17/2021

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for the areas that include the Trail and Alder Fire areas. Estimated winds of 45 mph are predicted. A Red Flag Warning is a forecast warning issued by the National Weather Service in the United States to inform the public, firefighters, and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion, and rapid spread.[1] After drought conditions, when humidity is very low, and especially when there are high or erratic winds which may include lightning as a factor, the Red Flag Warning becomes a critical statement for firefighting agencies.

TRAIL CREEK FIRE: Size 52,932 Acres 29% Containment

With the forecasted Red Flag Warning coming into the area, high winds will cause difficult conditions for firefighters working on the fire. Crews will focus on patrolling and monitoring containment lines and mopping up hot spots. Last night fire personnel conducted a successful burning operation to help secure lines and today crews will continue to mop up hot spots and improve the perimeter line. The logging operation along Highway 43 is complete and the road is expected to reopen. Structure protection remains in place, monitoring fire behavior and evaluating structures. Crews will continue to patrol and monitor through the night as well.

ALDER CREEK FIRE: Size 34,133 Acres 32% Containment

Much like Trail Creek, the Red Flag Warning will be in effect for the Alder Fire area today through Saturday evening. Crews will focus on patrolling the fire area, monitoring fire behavior, and mopping up hot spots near containment lines along the scenic bi-way. A burn out operation helping to secure the line was successful last evening and today fire personnel will look for hot spots, mop up and improve the perimeter. Structure protection remains in place near Alder Creek, monitoring and evaluating structures. Crews will remain in the area throughout the day, monitoring and mopping up any hot spots.

SAND LAKE FIRE: Size 228 Acres 0% Containment

The fire is established and active, growth is minimal, moving slowly along the side of the mountain. Crews will continue to monitor the fire and evaluate values at risk.

The Incident Management Team has utilized “Fire Apparatus” or Engines on the fire in a variety of ways. The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) recognizes 7 classifications of engines. Based primarily on water capacity and pumping capability. Type 1 and 2 Engines are used for structure protection and carry 300 gallons of water, type 3 Engines carry, 500 gallons, type 4 Engines, 750 gallons, type 5 Engines, 400 gallons, type 6 Engines, 150 gallons and type 7 Engines, 50 gallons. Type 4 and 6 Engines were best suited for the terrain and fire behavior on the Trail and Alder Fires. Engines are a versatile tool for fire managers. On the

Trail and Alder Fires, engines are used to protect homes and continue to patrol and put out hotspots throughout the duration of the fire.

Remember The public can expect to see smoke coming from interior pockets in the fire area for the next few days. This is normal and can be expected until considerable moisture covers the area. Firefighters were not able to directly attack all areas of the fire. The areas where it was just too steep or too dangerous for firefighters to work in. The fireteam continues to develop the suppression repair plan. This plan will describe areas where repair work will take place and how soon hose lays can be pulled out.


A Red Flag Warning for 1 p.m. today through 9 p.m. Saturday evening for high gusty winds and low relative humidity. These conditions are a head of cold front moving into the area, which is predicted to bring cooler and wetter conditions back to the area Sunday and Monday.


The Pioneer Scenic Byway is open to through traffic. Watch for increased traffic, school has started in the local communities and hunting season is ongoing. Please continue to use caution when driving through the area, as crews will still be in the area.


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 Forests, the Beaverhead-

Deerlodge National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management. View the updated closure orders on the respective agency websites and the fires' Inciweb pages.

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