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Trail Creek, Alder Creek, & Sand Lake Fire Update 09/20/2021

The Trail Creek Fire Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, September 22, 2021, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Gibbonsville Community Center, Gibbonsville, Idaho, and Wise River Community Center, Wise River, Montana. The Incident Commander, Operations, Fire Behavior Analyst, and Public Information Officer will be on hand to brief community members and answer questions regarding the Trail Creek Fire. Community members are encouraged to attend.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered to replace Northern Rockies Team 6.

TRAIL CREEK FIRE: Size 55,860 Acres 40% Containment

The cooler weather and slight precipitation received across the fire area was beneficial for firefighting efforts. Crews found opportunities to go direct and set up hose lays on the fire’s south and eastern perimeter. Today, firefighters continue to improve the indirect line connecting the south and western edges of the fire. Fire activity will continue to be active in the May creek and Nez Perce creek areas. Engine crews will patrol the north side containment lines and mop up any hot spots. Structure protection remains in place, monitoring fire behavior and evaluating structures.

ALDER CREEK FIRE: Size 34,639 Acres 40% Containment

Yesterday, firefighters continued to improve indirect lines and mop up hot spots. Cool temperatures, cloud cover, and minimal fire behavior allowed firefighters to make progress on the fire’s northeastern edge. Crews are using natural control features to prepare and construct indirect line. Fire activity will continue to be active in Saw Log creek and Calvert Hill areas. Structure protection remains in place near Alder Creek. Crews will remain in the area throughout the day, monitoring and evaluating structures and mopping up any hot spots.

Additionally, fire managers were able to send a hand crew to other, more active fires, in the area to help with suppression needs. Crews and aircraft will be available to help local units with new and existing fires in the area.

SAND LAKE FIRE: Size 228 Acres 0% Containment

With the cold and wet weather, growth and fire activity on the Sand Lake fire has been minimal. The fire is in a remote area and will continue to be monitored by air resources.

Remember The public can expect to see smoke coming from the interior pockets of the fire line until the area receives considerable precipitation or moisture. Firefighters attack the fire directly where it is safe to do so and engage indirectly in areas where it is too steep or dangerous. The fireteam continues to develop the suppression repair plan. This plan will describe areas where repaired work will take place and how equipment can be removed.


Monday will feature another cooler day, with highs around 50 and lingering gusty west to northwest winds. A few scattered showers may impact southwest Montana, but wetting rains are not expected. Another dry cold front arrives, bringing an uptick in winds, warmer and drier conditions by mid-week. In the morning, firefighters should expect minimal fire behavior like yesterday but should expect fire behavior to increase as clouds clear in the afternoon.


Highway 43 and the Pioneer Scenic Byway is open to through traffic. Watch for trees and rocks on the roadways. With the change of weather, the roads may be wet with rain or snow in higher elevations. Remember, school has started in the local communities and hunting season is ongoing. Please continue to use caution when driving through the area, as crews will still be in the area.


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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