UPDATE: July 25, 2012 7:00 a.m.
FIRE NAME: Chrandal Creek
DATE OF DETECTION: July 6, 2012 CAUSE: Lightning
CURRENT SIZE: 2,300 acres CONTAINMENT: 40%
LOCATION: 42 miles south of Darby, MT (32 air miles)
AGENCY: U.S. Forest Service – Bitterroot National Forest (MT) & Salmon-Challis National Forest (ID)
YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY: It was a dry day on the fire with relative humidity as low as 11%. With the dry conditions the active burning period started around 1:00 PM. Fire activity was quiet on the northern edge of the fire as well as the eastern edge. The southeastern corner had some interior torching but the line remained secure as a result of the good work of crews with air support. There was one spot on the southern flank that was quickly responded to with helicopter water drops and crew action. Active burning occurred on the northwest flank, cleaning the edge of the fire and spotting into an unburned between the fire edge and the already burned portion of the fire as expected. Because of the blue skies a smoke column was very visible in the afternoon over and west winds blew the smoke in an easterly direction.
TODAY’S WEATHER AND PLANNED ACTIVITY: Weather conditions today are expected to be slightly warmer than yesterday with temperatures at the higher elevations in the mid 70’s and in the valleys in the low 80’s. Relative humidity will be between 15-20% over the fire. Winds will not be as strong as Tuesday and are expected to come from the west northwest. Fire behavior is expected to be similar to Tuesday with the most intense activity occurring on the west side of the fire. Smoke is expected in the afternoon and early evening similar to what was seen on Tuesday. Activity will again focus at the head of Mine Creek, where hotshot crews continue to work the fire edge. Crews will also work on containment along the northwest and northeast flanks. A crew will monitor the southern flank for hot spots. Crews on the west flank will look for opportunities to engage the fire safely. Helicopters will be used to assist crews.
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: 412 fire personnel, including twelve 20-person crews, five helicopters, six engines, one dozer and eight water tenders.
SPECIAL CONCERNS: The Stage 1 Evacuation Notification is still in effect for residents in the upper Hughes Creek, MT area (above Chrandal Creek). People remain on notification of the possibility of evacuation if fire threat becomes imminent. Thirty-seven structures remain threatened in Hughes Creek, MT drainage with a structure protection plan in place. The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain with standing dead timber, thus posing a safety risk to firefighters and a challenge for building fire line.
Bitterroot National Forest: An area closure around the fire was put into effect on July 13 due to active wildfire conditions. The closure includes Trails #184 and #106 (Divide Trail) and Mine Creek Road #5688. The Hughes Creek Road in Montana is closed to non-residents at the intersection with Highway 473 (West Fork Road).
Salmon-Challis National Forest: Sections of the following trails are closed: #106, #141, #110, #105, #213, #142. These trails access the ridgeline trail dividing Idaho and Montana, near the active fire.
For more detailed and updated fire and closure information, visit http://www.inciweb.org/ .
Air quality monitors are in use at the Painted Rocks Fire Department and North Fork Ranger Station. Current air quality information for the area can be found at http://www.satguard.com/usfs/fleet.aspx .