BEAR CREEK FIRE Update 08/16/2020
CURRENT SIZE: 6,110 acres (GIS mapping incorporated burned out areas interior to the fireline)
LOCATION: Lemhi Pass area (29 miles East of Salmon Idaho)
JURISDICTION: Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
COOPERATING AGENCIES: Beaverhead County (MT), Lemhi County (ID), BLM, Montana DNRC, Salmon-Challis National Forest
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: Resources assigned to the fire include eight helicopters, two fixed-wing water scooping airplanes, one Type 2 crew, four Type 2 IA crew, three Type 1 crews, six engines and 327 total personnel.
YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY: Warmer temperatures, dry conditions, and the presence of wind resulted in active fire behavior and visible columns of smoke, interior to the established fireline. On the northwest side, crews constructed line on the 515 road through the Bear Creek drainage. To the south, crews worked on improving and prepping line on the 70020 road to tie into the Continental Divide, as an alternative if the fire advances past the line on the ridge on the north side of Black Canyon. On the south side, crews held and improved the line on the ridge of the northside of Black Canyon with aerial support via retardant drops. Night shift monitored burn out areas, patrolling and addressing any hot spots.
TODAY’S WEATHER: Temperatures are expected to be in the low to mid 80s with a relative humidity in the low teens. West wind gusts are expected up to 18 mph. Storms are expected to move in tonight in higher elevation areas, potentially resulting in wind gusts of up to 40 mph. Further thunderstorms are expected tomorrow, with a 25 percent chance of storms impacting the immediate fire area. High winds are likely, even if storms do not directly hit the fire.
TODAY’S PLANNED ACTIVITY: Fire behavior will increase today due to poor relative humidity recoveries last night and increased winds today, especially where the winds align with canyons. Spotting up to ¼ mile is expected. Fire spread is possible in canyons; however, cloudy weather could dampen fire behavior in the evening. The fire remains active at the head of the north fork of Everson creek, Upper Black Canyon, and the Bear Creek drainage. Crews will work to contain fire advancement along the southern flank using scoopers and helicopters to prevent the fire from reaching the Black Canyon drainage. To the west, crews will cut line along the 515 road, with support from heavy equipment. Crews will conduct fuel mitigation along the 70020 road to the Continental Divide. Night patrol will continue on the east and north sides tonight. High wind gusts in the evening could affect air operations.
SPECIAL CONCERNS: Those recreating on Clark Canyon Reservoir should be aware of aircraft using the water source for fire activity. Recreators should stay clear of area aircraft. Public and firefighter safety concerns are the top priority. Any public using the roads near the fire area should expect heavy fire traffic; please drive slowly for safety reasons. The fire is burning in timber/heavy fuels. These fuels will continue to dry out with low relative humidity. The area provides poor access and there is a lack of water in the immediate area of the fire. Crews will work to protect cultural resources and other values at risk.
CLOSURES: Area, road, and trail closures are in effect. Refer to the “Closures” and “Photos” tabs of the Inciweb site for narrative descriptions and maps of all agency closures. Lemhi Pass Road is closed from its junction with Montana Highway 324 to Lemhi Pass. The public is strongly encouraged to refrain from entering the area/nearby road system due to heavy fire traffic.