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Trail Creek, Alder Creek, And Sand Lake Fire Update 09/14/2021

TRAIL CREEK FIRE: Size 51,834 Acres 29% Containment

Crews continue to make good progress on handline from Forest Service #079 road north along the ridge between Anderson Creek and Smithy Creek to Anderson Mountain. Once completed, crews will use a burnout operation to secure the north side of the fire. Crews continue mopping up and putting out hotspots along the foothill’s road.

Crews continue to remove hazard trees along Highway 43 for the next few days. Use extreme caution and slow down when traveling in this area. Expect firefighters and equipment near roadways.

ALDER CREEK FIRE: Size 33,907 Acres 32% Containment

Hand crews and dozers continue to build and improve containment lines from Culvert Loop Road to Saw Log Creek. Crews will continue to look for opportunity to conduct back burns and go direct attack where they can do so safely. These burns are important to containing the fire and protecting structures. Fire personnel continue to monitor the south end of the fire looking for hot spots and ensuring that they are out. In addition they continue to patrol the corridor and scenic bi-way looking for areas of concern.

The structure protection group remains in place near Alder Creek, monitoring and evaluating structures. Crews will remain in the area throughout the evening, monitoring and mopping up any hot spots.

SAND LAKE FIRE: Size 228 Acres 0% Containment

The fire is established and active, growth is minimal, moving slowly along the side of the mountain. Crews will continue to monitor the fire and evaluate values at risk.

**In the days ahead there will be smoke coming from interior pockets in the fire area. This is normal and can be expected until considerable moisture covers the area, Firefighters were not able to directly attack all areas of the fire. The areas where it was just too steep or too dangerous for firefighters to work in. The fireteam is beginning to develop a suppression repair plan. This plan will describe areas where repair work will take place and how soon hose lays can be pulled out.


A high-pressure system builds in the region, winds will be terrain driven and light. As the day heats up, winds will increase, and wind gust are expected. A strong cold front is expected to move through the area Wednesday.


Highway 43 and the Pioneer Scenic Byway are open to through traffic. Watch for increased traffic, school has started in the local communities and hunting season is ongoing. Crews will be removing hazard trees along Highway 43 for the next few days. Use extreme caution and slow down when traveling in this area. Expect firefighters and equipment near roadways. Montana Department of Transportation has scheduled Highway 43 to replace bridges over Trail Creek for September 13th through 16th. The closure will last 24 hours a day (Monday-Thursday). The road is expected to reopen on Friday morning (September 17th).


Portions of the Continental Divide Trail remain closed. The Big Hole National Battlefield is closed until further notice. May Creek Campground and Steel Creek Campground are closed.

Closure orders remain in effect on the Salmon-Challis National Forests, the Beaverhead-

Deerlodge National Forest, and the Bureau of Land Management. View the updated closure orders on the respective agency websites and the fires' Inciweb pages.

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