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Bear Creek Fire Update 08/24/2020

DATE OF DETECTION: Tuesday, August 11,

2020 CAUSE: Lightning

CURRENT SIZE: 10,706 acres (mapping from overnight infrared flight)


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, 13 engines, and 419 total personnel.

YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY: Crews on the northwest corner of the fire conducted strategic burnout operations in the area between the active fire edge and the Continental Divide, to “lock in” this corner of the line. Helicopters provided support with water drops. Single tree torching produced enough heat to generate a visible smoke column. A few areas of the burnout bumped the fireline; however, crews were successful with locating and suppressing all hot spots. The overnight infrared flight showed no heat in this area. Along the 3903 road, crews reinforced and held the line along their previous burnout operation. Crews to the east continued with suppression repair along the constructed fireline. On the south side, resources reinforced, held, and patrolled that section.

TODAY’S WEATHER/FIRE BEHAVIOR: Cloudy weather and smoke will likely dampen fire activity this morning. Temperatures are expected in the low 80s, with relative humidity between 13-18%. Overnight humidity recovery reached 28% but has already fallen to predicted levels this morning. The forecast calls for increasing cloud cover with the potential for rain showers, although the chance of a wetting rain remains very low. Stormy weather will bring erratic outflow winds from the southwest/west, with gusts expected up to 30-40 mph. Active fire behavior is expected in the Bear Creek drainage, where the winds align with the topography. Winds over the fire area are highly variable due to topographic features and the proximity to the Continental Divide. The extended forecast calls for cloudy and cooler weather.

TODAY’S PLANNED ACTIVITY: Crews on the northwest corner will hold the line where they completed burnout operations yesterday, cleaning up residual heat and gridding for hot spots through the green, unburned areas. Crews will extend the burned line to the south along the Continental Divide. Heavy fuels will continue to burn in yesterday’s burn out area; however, fire activity could lessen with the incoming weather. Along the 3903 road, on the northern flank, crews will patrol the line, reinforcing and securing any areas with residual heat. Suppression repair along the constructed fireline is the main focus on the eastern and southern sections, with fire personnel working alongside resource advisors to implement the rehabilitation plan. Visibility and smoke will 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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