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Bear Creek Fire Update August 14, 2020 8:30 a.m.

DATE OF DETECTION: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

CAUSE:  Lightning

CURRENT SIZE:  4,200 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: The Type 2 IMT (Northern Rockies Team 5) assumed command of the fire at 0600 yesterday.Resources assigned to the fire include eight helicopters, two fixed-wing water scooping airplanes, one Type 2 IA crew, three Type 1 crews, five engines and 193 total personnel.

YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY:  Crews continued to scout for additional opportunities to utilize the existing road system to maintain pace with the flanking fire. On the east side, crews scouted and prepped for burn out operations from the 1882 and 1849 roads to tie into the 70020 road, eventually extending to the Continental Divide. On the north end of the fire, crews worked from Trapper Creek westward to Frying Pan. On the southern flank, crews and a dozer constructed indirect line (away from the active edge of the fire) from the 1882 road to the 1883 road. Two large water-scooping fixed wing aircraft (“scoopers”) dropped water to assist crews on the ground. Additionally, helicopters provided aerial support and supervision. The northern flank of the fire remains the most active. There was active fire behavior overnight north of a section of the 1883 road, burning out a pocket of heavy fuels in the South Fork of Everson Creek.

TODAY’S WEATHER:  Today’s forecast includes relative humidity readings in the high teens to low 20s. Wind gusts are expected between 10mph and 22mph on the fireline, with highest wind gusts on ridgelines above 8,000 feet. Strong winds are expected to re-emerge late on Sunday. Temperatures will be in the high 60s. Smoke is visible over a large area including Dillon, communities of the Big Hole Valley, Tendoy, Lemhi Valley, and the area surrounding Salmon, Idaho.

TODAY’S PLANNED ACTIVITY:  On the east side, crews will work with heavy equipment to improve existing line in preparation for possible burn out operations from the 6869 road to the 1883 road this evening. The burn out will occur if conditions are favorable to remove residual unburned fuels. Crews will also scout routes to access the area from the 1883 road to the Continental Divide, with dozer support. To the north, crews will construct and improve fireline, preparing existing roads for possible burn out operations in the Frying Pan drainage. Crews will scout for access to the Continental Divide further south from the current line location on the west side, keeping the fire footprint as small as possible. Air operations will relocate the helibase closer to the fire from its current location. They have established a 15,000 gallon heli-well at a location closer to the fire. Helicopters are available for water drops when needed, beginning at 9 a.m.  Additional resources will be assigned, as they arrive.

SPECIAL CONCERNS: Public and firefighter safety concerns are the top priority. 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 on the east side of the fire.

CLOSURES:  All BLM administered lands south of Lemhi Pass Road, west of U.S. Highway 324, and east of the Continental Divide along the Montana State line are closed (the map of the closure can be found here and closure order can be found here).All B-D Forest Service lands adjacent to BLM administered lands (south of Lemhi Pass Road, west of BLM administered lands, and east of the Continental Divide along the Montana State line) are closed (the map of the closure  and closure order can be found here). Salmon-Challis National ForestForest has closed Road #60185 Warm Springs Road from Lemhi Pass north for 3.6 miles and Forest Road #60013 Agency Creek Road from Lemhi Pass to the intersection with Forest Service Road #60068 Copper Queen Mine Road (the map of the closure  and closure order can be found here).Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Salmon-Challis National Forests have closed the Continental Divide Trail  (CDT) from Goldstone Pass to Bannock Pass (the map and closure order can be found here). This CDT closure excludes any areas under jurisdiction of the BLM. Lemhi Pass Road is closed from Brenner Lane to the Idaho border. The public is strongly encouraged to refrain from entering the area/nearby road system due to heavy fire traffic.


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