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Bear Creek Fire Update 08/23/2020

CURRENT SIZE: 10,275 acres


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 seven helicopters, six Type 2 IA crews, two Type 1 crews, 12 engines, and 411 total personnel.

YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY: Increased smoke and haze from several fires in California was present in the fire area by mid-afternoon. On the northwest side, the fire continued to back down into the Bear Creek drainage. Fire behavior was more active in areas with stringers of timber; as the fire backs through creek areas and drainages, fire behavior diminished. Crews completed strategic burning operations in the area, heading west from the 6869 road to the 3901 road. Fire line on the north and northwest sections of the fire are coming together, effectively “buttoning up” that area and preventing further fire advancement to the north. Crews on the southwest corner prepared for a burning operation, planned for today if conditions are favorable. On the south flank, resources shifted further east to assist with suppression repair of constructed line.

TODAY’S WEATHER/FIRE BEHAVIOR: Good relative humidity recovery overnight will likely delay the start of the burn period. Less smoke and haze drifting from California and cloud cover in the morning could lead to decreased fire behavior. Drift smoke will increase throughout the day, peaking in the early evening. Temperatures are expected in the low 80s, with relative humidity in the teens. Winds from the west are expected to gust to 22 mph. Active fire behavior is expected in the Bear Creek drainage, where the winds align with the topography. Increased winds will help fuel interior to the fireline burn out on the northwest side of the fire. Winds over the fire area are highly variable due to topographic features and the proximity to the Continental Divide. Dry and windy conditions are forecast through early next week. The extended forecast calls for cloudy and cooler weather.

TODAY’S PLANNED ACTIVITY: Crews on the southwest side will conduct strategic burnout operations in the area between the active fire edge and the Continental Divide, if conditions are favorable, to “lock in” this corner of the line. Along the 3903 road, crews will reinforce and hold the line along their previous burnout operation. Crews to the east will continue with suppression repair along the constructed fireline. On the south side, resources will reinforce, hold, and patrol that section. Visibility and smoke continue to be limiting factors for air operations.

SPECIAL CONCERNS: 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. Hunters should check Inciweb and/or call for closure information and maps. 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 and natural 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. There are no official evacuation orders associated with the fire.

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