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Trail Creek, Alder Creek, & Sand Lake Fire Update 09/28/2021

• Open House: Tuesday, September 28, from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm at the Gibbonsville Community Center, Gibbonsville, Idaho.

• Open House: Thursday, September 30, from 6 pm to 7 pm at the Wise River Community Center, Wise River, Montana.

Incident personnel will be on hand to brief community members and answer questions regarding the Trail Creek, Alder Creek, and Sand Lake fires. Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, we encourage everyone to adhere to current CDC guidelines regarding use of masks, social distancing, and handwashing.

Fire behavior increased due to several days of warmer temperatures, lower humidity values, and stronger winds. This resulted in more smoke; however, smoke is also coming into the area from other fires across the West. Fire activity is expected to moderate with the incoming

cold front and precipitation.

TRAIL CREEK FIRE [Start Date: July 8, 2021 | Cause: Lightning | 57,325 acres | 75% contained]:

Firefighters have begun suppression repair efforts in the northern areas of the fire where the perimeter is contained. Hand crews are digging out culverts along Trail Creek Road in anticipation of grading. Crews are tying in line on the eastern edge from the intersection of Hwy 43/Foothills Road south to the northwest edge of the Morgan Jones Lake area. Helicopters continue to support operations with water drops in the May Creek and Nez Perce Creek drainages. Yesterday’s strategic firing operations from Smithy Creek to Anderson Mountain were successful and crews are camped/spiked out there to begin mop up operations early Tuesday. In Gibbonsville, crews drained hoses and winterized water equipment in anticipation of below freezing temperatures.

ALDER CREEK FIRE [Start Date: July 8, 2021 | Cause: Lightning | 39,474 acres | 45% contained]:

Yesterday, the Alder Creek Fire was more active on the northern perimeter after multiple days of warmer temperatures and higher winds. Crews completed and secured line along the edge of Saturday’s spot fire from Tucker Creek to Calvert Loop Road. Ground operations had heavy air support. Tomorrow, firefighters will continue to clean up and further strengthen containment lines. On the southern edge, fire behavior was quiet as it crept into the Pattengail Creek burn scar and rock scree fields. Engine and hand crews will monitor and patrol fireline

southwest from Bryant Creek Road to Sawlog Creek and continue structure protection where needed. Crews are working on suppression repair activities along the eastern perimeter.

SAND LAKE FIRE [Start Date: September 1, 2021 | Cause: Unknown | 228 acres]:

Fire growth and activity on the Sand Lake Fire has been minimal and is being monitored by air.


A cold front will pass through the region Tuesday morning, bringing gusty west to northwest winds and some precipitation. Temperatures will be in the high-30s at higher elevations and low-50s in the valley. Cooler temperatures and moderate humidity levels are expected Wednesday through Thursday morning, followed by a slow warming trend.


Gibbonsville, Idaho, remains in “Ready” evacuation status. U.S. Route 93, Highway 43 (Chief Joseph Pass to Wise River), and the Pioneer Scenic Byway are OPEN to through traffic. Please be careful of fire crews working in these areas and watch for trees, rocks, and animals.


• 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 Forest (, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest (, and the Bureau of Land Management.

FIRE RESTRICTIONS: Public lands in southwest Montana and central Idaho are in varying stages of fire restrictions. Check and for the latest information.

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