AUGUSTA, MT – Two National Guard Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters arrived Thursday afternoon to provide air support to firefighters on the Alice Creek Fire. These very fast helicopters are able to carry up to 2,000 gallons of water per load and can fly for two-and- a-half hours before needing to refuel. Throughout the duration of this fire, firefighters have relied heavily on helicopters to drop water to cool the fire. With their massive water capacity, these helicopters are a welcome asset.

These very large helicopters may catch the eye of drivers along Hwy. 200. Please do not stop along the roadway to look at the aircraft dipping as it may be dangerous to other drivers.

Like yesterday, meteorologists are forecasting erratic 34 mph wind gusts that may pulse throughout the fire area most of the day. The National Weather Service extended the Red Flag warning through tonight as a result of very windy and dry conditions. These winds are channeling through the canyons of the Continental Divide, colliding with each other at ridgetops. While there was growth on the northeastern flank, the fire did not make an organized push east, which gave firefighters an opportunity to request an airtanker that dropped a load of retardant to slow its forward progress. The line held overnight. Firefighters are working with land owners to discuss contingency plans that may need to be put into effect today if winds become problematic. In total, the fire gained 153 acres yesterday.

A structure protection plan is in place that allows firefighters, including the Wolf Creek fire responders, to have a coordinated response should the need arise. Working together, fire resources are familiarizing themselves with the area, and working with landowners to implement emergency plans if needed to protect structures in the Elk Meadow/Evergreen, Toms Gulch, Alice Creek Basin, Bedrock and Dearborn areas.

Along the southeastern flank, three feller bunchers, two working their way south to the Green Creek and one working west, met at the end of Green Creek Road yesterday. They were assisted by a handcrew that are cleaning up woody debris in the machine’s path. This machinery is speeding containment efforts in the thick dead and down timber while making it safer for firefighters to successfully protect the structures and cultural and heritage artifacts that are abundant in that area.

A Community meeting will occur at the Wolf Creek Elementary School tonight at 6 p.m. to provide a situational update on the fire and allow the community to ask questions related to the fire activity that has occurred since Great Basin Team 5 took command of the fire Aug. 28.

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