Dillon, MT August 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm The Bear Creek Fire was reported at approximately 10:30 am on August 11 in the Lemhi Pass area on the Dillon Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, (B-D). Lightning was determined to be the cause of the fire.
The fire size increased to approximately 5,000 acres by 4:00 PM this evening. Fire officials report that it burned actively throughout the day in all fire divisions, in fuels primarily of dead and down timber, heavy timber and some grass sage. Continued Red Flag Conditions and high winds fueled the fire growth. The Red Flag Conditions are predicted to end at 9:00 pm tonight; however potential for active fire behavior will continue.
Aviation resources were grounded today by the high winds, smoke and erratic fire behavior. Additionally, ground resources were limited by active fire behavior and inaccessibility due to the steep, rugged terrain. Fire officials anticipate beginning preps of in-direct fire lines this evening, depending on fire behavior.
An area closure will be done for public and firefighter safety, the first priority of fire management officials. There are no evacuations at this time.
Resources on scene remain the same, with an addition of helicopters to two Type 1, three Type 2, two Type 3 and two Type 3 scooper helicopters. A variety of other resources are either on site or inbound, including dozers, strike teams and other fire support. There are approximately 200 persons on site, additional inbound, all assigned to Bear Creek Fire.
The Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT) of the Northern Rockies Team arrived today, led by Incident Commander (IC) Joe Sampson, and held an in-briefing at noon with B-D fire officials. At 6:00 am tomorrow, August 13, the Type 2 team will assume control of the fire. An incident command post, (ICP) will be established in Dillon and limited to 25 people. Other fire personnel will be staged in spike camps to assure social distancing.
Smoke continues to be visible over a large area throughout the day, including Dillon, the communities of the Big Hole Valley, Tendoy, Lemhi Valley, and the area surrounding Salmon, Idaho.