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Sawtooth Fire Update

Date: September 10, 2012

Time:  8:00 a.m.

Incident: Sawtooth Wildland Fire

Information Phone: 406-363-3556, 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Location: Sawtooth Fire is about 7 miles west southwest of Hamilton

Approximate Size: 1,300 acres estimated

Containment: 5%

Incident Commander: Tom Heintz, Northern Rockies Type-II Incident Management Team

Resources: Hand Crews: (2) Type I crews; (5) Type II crews; Equipment: (10) Engines, (2) Dozers, (4) Water Tenders; Air Support: (1) Type 1 helicopter;(3) Type 3 helicopters

Total personnel:  252

Injuries: 3

Cost to Date: $1,566,000

Fire Update: A Stage 1 evacuation notice has been issued for the following area:

All residential and commercial properties West of Westside Road; South of Paradise Trail and Blodgett Camp Road; and North of North Gold Creek Loop. This means there is a high probability of the need to evacuate. Residents are responsible to make arrangements to move property and livestock. Some residents, primarily those with special health needs or other concerns, should relocate during this stage. The Ravalli County Emergency Operations Center has a public information phone number that interested parties may call: Ravalli County EOC 406-375-6650

The fire was flown last night using infrared detection and that information transferred to an updated perimeter map. It is actually moving in two, possibly three fronts. Based on that infrared information, the fire has spotted over into the head of Barley Creek and the North Fork of Owings Creek on the Northeast edge. The fire is also moving in a Southeasterly direction in Sawtooth Creek.

Helicopters were used yesterday to drop retardant and water where that was effective, however, air operations had to be suspended due to the high winds over the fire area. The winds are not being experienced at the lower elevations in the valley and that can be confusing to observers. Fire Operations are planning to resume the use of helicopters to utilize the retardant being made at a portable retardant plant located at the ICP. The winds will dictate that use.  Wind also has an impact on the effectiveness of the retardant application.  Retardant is generally not effective in winds above 25 mph as it breaks up so a good application at the target is difficult.

Officials expect the dry cold front weather to continue today. A RED FLAG WARNING is in place from noon on today. Winds are forecast to 40-50 mph over the fire area with humidity actually increasing slightly.

Engines and crews will be lined out along the contingency line to provide structure protection. The Westside Road and those feeding off of it from Roaring Lion Road on the South and Paradise Trail and Blodgett Camp Road on the North will be closed to all but local resident traffic to provide for the public safety as they deal with necessary work they have to do in preparation for an evacuation order if it should come.

An information trailer on Highway 93 at Roaring Lion Road will be staffed from noon until 7 pm each day.

Closures: Sawtooth Creek Trail #123, Roaring Lion Trail #124, and Canyon Creek Trail #525 are closed due to fire activity.

Special Concerns:  New fire starts! Attention: Stage 1 Fire Restrictions remain in effect for this area. Information on fire restrictions can be found at http://firerestrictions.us/mt/.

More Information: Visit Inciweb at www.inciweb.org, email sawtoothfire@gmail.com or call fire information 363-3556. Ravalli County EOC has established a recorded phone line with current evacuation information at 375-6650.

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