The following update on the Elbow Pass Complex of wildfires was released on Friday, August 17, 2012:

Cost to Date: $3,408,141           Acres: 18,625        Containment: 0%             Personnel 52

 The Elbow Pass Complex is comprised of five different lightning ignitions from July 12 through July 31. These are the Falls Point (added to the complex today), Triple Divide Fire, Rapid Creek Fire, Elbow Pass Fire, and Bar Fire. The fire is located 25 miles west southwest of Augusta, Montana, in inaccessible terrain in heavy fuels.

Yesterday’s Activities:  An aerial assessment of the area increased the complex’s acreage by 1,167 acres.  A Fire Use Module (firefighters) have been assigned to the Benchmark Trail Head for fire monitoring and for initial attack as needed. Fire growth was small in the general west/south west area of the fire.

Responsibility for the Falls Point fire has been added to the complex as of 0600 today.  Its fire acreage is at 281 acres.

Today’s Planned Activities: A BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) Team will fly the fire area for assessing recovery activities.  Continue with Initial Attack responsibilities on Forest as requested. Continue structure protection and visitor contacts at Danaher, Basin, Welcome Creek, Pretty Prairie Cabins, and Benchmark Trailhead.  Visitor contacts at Danaher Cabin cannot occur as the cabin is within the area closure.

Recreation Opportunities: While the Benchmark Road is open, the area is closed beginning a half mile west of the road. Numerous trails will remain closed. Please check with the Rocky Mountain Ranger District offices in Augusta and Choteau for specific recreation information. Please note that vehicles parked at the trailhead may be at fire risk due to possible future fire activity.  Benchmark Air Strip is closed, the Augusta air strip is open.

Augusta Information Station 406-562-3247 or District Office Choteau 406-466-5341