Area Wildfire Updates 8-31-17 9am
The Alice Creek Fire grew an additional 400 acres on Tuesday, mostly along the southwestern part of the fire in the upper reaches of West Falls Creek Drainage. This is an inaccessible area for firefighters who are relying on aircraft to keep the fire cool.
On the southeastern flank, the fire reached the bottom of South Green Creek. It is approximately a mile from the Elk Meadows (Evergreen) subdivision, which has been evacuated. Firefighters are using helicopters, the 231 road, dozers and a handcrew to secure the fire’s edge as directly as possible. A skidgen, dozer and engines that arrived Tuesday evening to begin cutting, stacking and clearing the area to create a more secure containment line.
Along the eastern edge, the fire did not moved significantly. Due to the inaccessibility of the fire, it is being held in check with helicopters. Where possible, firefighters are prepping the roads to conduct a possible burn in the future. This tactic removes vegetation ahead of the fire’s front and creates safer conditions firefighters need to contain the area.
On the northeastern flank a hand crew and dozer are working along the switchbacks, north of Bedrock Creek to construct containment lines. Firefighters are thinning trees and woody debris to reduce the amount of timber along roadways.
To reduce travel time to difficult-to-access work sites, fire crews are using the Alice Creek Trail Head as a small camp to work from while others have set up a small camp on the ridgetop of Wildcat Ridge. An additional engine will begin supporting them today to help establish hoselays and water pumping stations.
Firefighters estimate the fire has gained 900 acres in the past two days, bringing the total acres to 6,141. This growth, combined with the mostly inaccessible area has not improved containment. It remains zero percent.
With the activity occurring on and near private lands, firefighters ask the public to not impede firefighters taking suppression action in the area. Uncoordinated efforts are very dangerous to firefighters and the public as it creates a more hazardous environment for everyone.
EVACUATIONS/ PRE-EVACUATIONS: Lewis and Clark County Sheriff issued mandatory evacuations for residences in the Elk Meadows (Evergreen) subdivision and to ranches on Road 434/435 (north of Highway 200). A Pre-evacuation notice was given to residences located near Elk Meadows subdivision (about mile-marker 93) along Hwy 200 up to mile-marker 98. Questions about the evacuation notices should be directed to the L&C Emergency Operations Center: 406-447-1605. A Red Cross shelter is available in Helena at First Assembly of God Church (2210 Dodge Ave.) if needed. Please call 1-800-272-6668 for assistance.
ROAD CLOSURES: Lewis and Clark Co. Sheriff officers established road blocks at Elk Meadows driveway, the intersection of Hwy. 200 and Hwy. 434 and the intersection of Flat Creek Rd and Hwy. 434 to prevent unnecessary traffic from entering the fire area.
The Park Creek Fire, 2 miles north of Lincoln, is 13,391 acres in size as of Wednesday, Aug 30th.
A 400-acre burn operation occurred yesterday between Theodore Creek and Yukon Creek. Fire crews used fire as a tool to force fire to burn into itself versus allowing outward fire growth to containment lines.
Pockets of interior, green vegetation continue to burn within containment lines.
Steep rugged terrain, large dead fuels and numerous snags continue to be the primary safety concerns for fire crews. There has been minimal creeping, backing and smoldering.
The East Fork Fire made a run Wednesday, and has now burned more than 3,800 acres in the Bears Paw Mountains South of Havre. The cause of the fire, which began Sunday afternoon, is not yet known.
An evacuation order has been issued for the Sucker Creek area from Rocky Boy to the Hill/Blaine County line. Officials say fewer than a dozen homes are included in that order. Another 250 homes near the Parker School are under a pre-evacuation order.
Visitors were also asked to leave Beaver Creek Park Wednesday afternoon, because the wind had shifted, pushing the fire toward the park. Highway 234 which provides access to the park, was then closed in the Second Lake area.
Chippewa-Cree tribal firefighters are being assisted by crews from the DNRC, Havre, Kremlin, Chinook, Big Sandy, Box Elder, as well as local farmers and ranchers. Two planes and two helicopters are also part of the fight. A Hot Shot Crew from Missouri was scheduled to arrive Wednesday.
The Crucifixion Creek Fire has now burned 1400 acres in the Badger Two Medicine area southwest of Heart Butte.
The fire is in rough terrain of heavy timber and rocky, discontinuous vegetation. Fire management officials and the Incident Commander type 4 are managing the fire with a confine and contain strategy.
The West side of the fire has been quiet recently, with little to no movement toward the Continental Divide Trail along Muskrat Creek.
The fire has been the most active on the West-Northwest side of Curly Bear Mountain.
A public meeting will be held in Heart Butte in the multi-purpose room in the Heart Butte School on Friday at 6 pm. Updates on the fire are being posted at the post offices in Heart Butte and Valier.
The Ditch Creek Fire was reported on Thursday, August 24th, east of the Tenderfoot drainage in the Little Belt Mountains. Meagher County and Forest Service responded and have been working in unified command since that time.
The 127-acre fire is burning in Douglas fir, sagebrush, and grass.
Firefighters completed the handline yesterday. Today, they'll work to secure it to prepare for the onset of the winds predicted for later this afternoon and evening. Crews will continue to mop-up inside the fire perimeter. Aircraft is available when/where it is needed.