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Red Shale Fire Update – August 28, 2013

The following information is from the U.S.Forest Service:

The fire perimeter remains within the 1988 Gates Park Fire perimeter. It is working its way up Frazier Creek and Route Creek where it crossed to the east of the North Fork Sun River in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. On the north end, the fire is actively backing into the South Fork of Lick Creek. The fire continues to reduce much of the heavy downed and standing dead timber with pockets of thick, young lodgepole pines regenerating from the 1988 Gates Park Fire.

 
 An infra-red flight Monday night showed the fire is at 12,284 acres. The fire has been moving slowly up the Route Creek drainage and has been checked by bucket drops from our helicopter as well as the moist conditions which exist in the heavy dead and down timber fuels. The fire continues to creep and smolder in this area as well as burning out heavy fuels in the interior.
 
The lightning caused Rock Creek Fire was detected on August 20th at the head of Rock Creek (T23N, R12W, Sec. 22) and is at 207 acres. It has moved downslope in the northwest corner and up the other side of the headwaters of Rock Creek to the continental divide, to the east of My Lake. Due to the remote location of this fire, the low values at risk and existing trail closures in place for public safety, it will be monitored by fire personnel.
 
Management Actions: Evaluation and mitigation of potential risks to the public, fire personnel, and resources remains the top priority. Heavy downfall, abundant hazardous snags and dense young lodgepole pine stands dominate the area. A long term management plan identifying activities to slow progress and reduce intensity of the fire and provide for public safety was completed on July 24. The use of helicopter water bucket drops is one of the strategies identified in the plan. This plan is being routinely reviewed by District Fire Managers to ensure management actions are adequately addressing concerns identified.
 
For public safety, several trails are closed in the Upper North Fork of the Sun River and along the south and north Chinese walls. All forest visitors travelling in the backcountry are urged to use caution and be observant of changes in weather and fire behavior.  The following trails are closed in full length: #108 Route Creek (w/in the Wilderness boundary); #109 East Side Sun River Tr. (from Jct. w/ Tr. #165 north to jct. w/ Tr. #108); #110 North Fork Sun River Tr. (pack bridge north to jct. w/ Tr. #116 Open Creek.); #111 Rock Creek; # 117 Washboard Reef (w/in the Wilderness boundary); #125 Moose Ridge Lookout; #130 Red Shale, #132 Moonlight Peak; #151 N. Fk. Lick Creek; #157 Nesbit-Oley Creek. (w/in the Wilderness boundary); #162 Gates Creek; #163 Ray Creek Cut-off; #164 Ray Creek; #166 Gates – Moose Creek; #174 North Wall Tr. (south of #132); #175 Chinese Wall, (from jct. w/#131 Moose Creek. Tr. To Larch Hill Pass); #187 Wrong Ridge; #188 Monroe Cutoff; #194 My Lake.
 
Two smoke monitors are in service to monitor smoke in this region: one in Augusta and one at the U.S. Forest Service Bunkhouse in Choteau. Reports are available on-line; please go to www.inciweb.org/incident/3550 and “Related Incident Links.”

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