Trail Creek, Alder Creek, & Christensen Fire Updates 08/29/2021



TRAIL CREEK

Location: 20 miles West of Wisdom

Star t date: July 8, 2021

Size: 39,340 acres (IR mapping-8/29)

Percent Complete: 58%

Cause: Lightning

Total personnel: 210


TRAIL CREEK FIRE:

Ground crews continue to improve and reinforce handline along the western flank near

May Creek and along the Three Mile area, east of Anderson Mountain. The line will be

"plumbed" with pumps and hoses, as a precautionary measure. Helicopter bucket drops

have effectively kept the fire "in check" along Three Mile Ridge where isolated and group

tree torching were observed. Crews continue to remove hazard trees from the May Creek

area, mop-up smoldering fuels, and monitor remaining hot spots throughout the fire.

Crews continue to work on a suppression repair plan, in consultation with agency

resource advisors.



ALDER CREEK

Location: 7 miles west of Wise River

Star t date: July 8, 2021

Size: 14,125 acres (IR mapping-8/29)

Percent Complete: 24%

Cause: Unknown

Total personnel: 168


ALDER CREEK FIRE:

Firefighters continue to backhaul excess water-handling equipment on the west side of the

Pioneer Scenic Byway, monitor areas of heat on the fire, and assess suppression repair

needs. Heavy equipment on the northern side of the fire will work on repairing roads used

in suppression operations. Crews continue to monitor the large fuels smoldering in the

interior of the fire; no significant fire growth is expected.



CHRISTENSEN

Location:12 miles west of Wise River

Star t date: July 16, 2021

Size: 11,134 acres (IR mapping-8/29)

Percent Complete: 20%

Cause: Unknown

Total personnel: 14


CHRISTENSEN FIRE:

Heavy equipment resources will continue with cut material removal operations as weather

and safety permit. Scattered heat and visible smoke remains in the Trident Peak area,

where pockets of fuel continue to burn out within the perimeter. Forward progression of

the fire is not expected, although the fire is expected to continue slowly backing into

Bryant Creek when the winds and slope align. The south side of the fire has stalled along

the Pattengail Fire footprint, which has served as a natural barrier for confining the fire.



TODAY'S WEATHER/FIRE BEHAVIOR:

Yesterday's weather included temperatures in the low 70s and minimum relative humidity

around 20-25%. The gradual drying trend continues for the next few days, with

temperatures rising a few degrees and relative humidity slowly dropping. A thermal belt

kept temperatures warmer last night (by 6 degrees), and overnight relative humidity

recoveries were poor. These conditions may result in an earlier start to the burn window.

Instability today could bring gusty southwest winds up to 20 mph. Monday will be the

most critical day, with temperatures, wind, and relative humidity approaching critical

values. Cooler weather is expected to return mid-week.



The increase in fire activity the last couple of days is indicative of weather conditions

associated with the current drying trend. Areas of concentrated heat in Salix Creek and

Trident Peak may lead to a slight increase in fire activity and smoke production. These

areas, sheltered from the predicted winds, involve interior islands of fuel burning out

within the perimeter. Single and group tree torching on the western side of the Trail

Creek Fire along Three Mile Creek ridge is likely to continue, due to the slope alignment

and solar heating of the fuels with the morning sun. With the predicted southwest winds,

these areas should burn back onto already burned portions of the fire.


SAFETY:

Highway 43 and the Pioneer Scenic Byway are open to through traffic. Slow down and

stay alert for firefighting equipment and vehicles, smoke, and downed trees. Motorists

should also watch for bicyclists, hikers, and vehicles operating at slower speeds.



FIRE RESTRICTIONS:

Public lands in southwest Montana and central Idaho are in varying stages of fire

restrictions. Check mtfireinfo.org and idahofireinfo.com for the latest information.


CLOSURES:

The Continental Divide Trail is closed from Rock Creek to Mussigbrod Creek. The Big

Hole National Battlefield is closed until further notice. May Creek Campground remains

closed.


Closure orders are in effect on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Salmon-Challis National

Forests. Forest officials are consulting with fire managers to reassess and re-evaluate their

closure areas. The BLM has modified their closure area in association with the Alder Creek

Fire. All closure information can be found on the Inciweb pages and agency websites.





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