Red Shale Fire Update – August 14, 2013
Current Activities: An infrared flight conducted Tuesday night now estimates the fire at 9,342 acres with some hot spots and fire activity on the north end, south west of Rabbit Butte. Warmer and dryer weather with light winds is forecasted for the next several days and more visible smoke can be expected. Minimal rain was reported overnight at the Gates Park remote area weather station, located at the Forest Service back country administrative site. The Red Shale Fire transitioned to a Type 4 command on Tuesday August 13, 2013.
Fire personnel at Gates Park along with Beartop Lookout are monitoring current activities. The Type 3 helicopter that was stationed at the Choteau Airport has been assisting initial attack of new fire starts in the Lincoln area. Two smoke monitors are in service to monitor this region: one at Ear Mountain and one in Augusta. Reports are available on-line; please go to www.inciweb.org/incident/3550 and “Related Incident Links.”
Management Actions: Evaluation and mitigation of potential risks to the public, fire personnel, and resources remains as the top priority. Heavy downfall, abundant hazardous snags and dense young lodgepole pine stands, along with remote location in the wilderness poses a challenge in ensuring safety zones and escape routes for fire personnel. A long term management plan identifying activities to slow progress and reduce intensity of the fire was completed on July 24. This plan will be routinely reviewed by District Fire Managers to ensure management actions are adequately addressing concerns identified in the plan.
Restrictions and Closures: For public safety, there are several trails closed within the Sun River Game Preserve and along the Continental Divide Trail. All forest visitors travelling in the backcountry are urged to use caution and be observant of changes in weather and fire behavior. Trail closures are updated frequently: for the current detailed map, please visit inciweb.org
The following trails are closed in full length as of July 31: East Side Sun River #109, Rock Creek #111, Moose Ridge Lookout #125, Red Shale #130, Moonlight Peak #132, North Fork Lick Creek #151, Gates Creek #162, Ray Creek Cut-off #163, Ray Creek #164, and Gates Creek – Moose Creek #166. There are partial closures and restrictions on following trails: North Fork Sun River #110 from pack bridge north, Washboard Reef #117 from #108 to #110 junction, and North Fork Wall #174 is closed from Red Shale #130 north to Moonlight Peak #132. The Chinese Wall #175, north of Cliff Mountain, and My Lake #194 are open to travel, but there is no camping permitted.
Information above is from the US Forest Service.