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Bear Creek Fire Update 08/26/2020

DATE OF DETECTION: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

CAUSE: Lightning

CURRENT SIZE: 11,590 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, three Type 2 IA crews, two Type 1 crews, three engines, and 316 total personnel.

YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY: Crews, assisted by a helicopter, cleaned up areas where the fire crossed over the fireline in the northwest corner; effectively “picking up” all hot spots and removing residual heat. Early morning winds blowing across the slopes have resulted in these spots the last couple of days. Crews added a small amount of burn-out to the south along the Continental Divide to reinforce that section of line. Suppression repair continued along the constructed fireline on the eastern and southern sections. Crews to the north also began suppression repair. Winds gusted to 40 mph in the afternoon but did not cause problems for the crews on the ground. Though light rain was recorded at the Lemhi Pass area, no measurable precipitation fell over the fire.

TODAY’S WEATHER/FIRE BEHAVIOR: The forecast calls for cloudy and unstable conditions, with thunderstorms, lightning and erratic winds expected this evening. There is a 80% chance of rain showers, with a 35% chance of wetting rain greater than 1/10 of an inch. Temperatures are expected in the low to mid-70s, with relative humidity in the mid-20s. Stormy weather will bring erratic outflow winds from the southwest/west, with gusts expected up to 22 mph. Fire behavior is expected to be low, due to high overnight relative humidity (85-100%) with minimal single tree torching. Smoldering and interior burn-out is expected. In the Bear Creek drainage and previously burned out areas, fire activity is still expected. Winds over the fire area are highly variable due to topographic features, winds brought in by thunderstorms in the evening and the proximity to the Continental Divide. The extended forecast calls for a cool and moist pattern through Friday, with a warmer and drier day on Saturday followed by a cold front by early next week.

TODAY’S PLANNED ACTIVITY: Crews will mop-up and hold the northwest area of the fire. On the northern, southern, and eastern flanks, crews will use heavy equipment and dozers to complete suppression repair, pulling back berms and smoothing out the constructed firelines. Thunderstorms could limit aerial support. Additional helicopters will be released after today’s shift, and demobilization of other resources will occur over the next few days; those resources will be available for reassignment to other fires.

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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