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Woods Creek Fire

Unit Information

Helena - Lewis and Clark National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2880 Skyway Drive
Helena, MT 59602

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This incident is no longer being updated.

Woods Creek Fire Map 09-01-2021Image options: [ Full Size ]

The lightning-caused Woods Creek Fire was discovered on Saturday, July 10th near Boulder Lakes in the Big Belt Mountains. Management was assumed by a Type 3 Incident Management Team (or IMT) from Nevada. The Type 1 Southern Area Red IMT was next, and they had command of the Woods Creek, Balsinger, Ellis and American Fork Fires. On August 12th, Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team 1 assumed command of the Balsinger, American Fork, and Woods Creek Fires. Following was the FDNY Type 2 Incident Management Team which managed the Balsinger and Woods Creek Fires. Lastly, the Balsinger Fire is going back to management by the local Forest Service district, and a Type 3 IMT under the leadership of Martinez is assuming command of the Woods Creek Fire.

At 90 % contained as of August 31st, the majority of the uncontained area of the Woods Creek Fire is in steep inaccessible terrain. Likely the fire will not be deemed completely out until a season ending event occurs. Suppression repair work continues along the fire containment lines and contingency lines on both Forest and private land to prevent soil erosion.

Please respect the Woods Creek Fire Area Closure; it is there for both firefighter and public safety. Despite recent moisture and very little visible smoke, pockets inside the fire area could continue to burn until a season-ending event. Please contact the Townsend Ranger District for alternative locations to hunt and recreate on the forest.

Starting September 1st, there will be no more fire updates. Inciweb will be updated if a significant change in fire behavior or activity occurs.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginSaturday July 10th, 2021 approx. 12:00 AM
Location16 miles NE of Townsend, MT
Incident CommanderRock Byrd; Type IV team
Incident DescriptionWildfire
Coordinates46.553 latitude, -111.356 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel54
Size55,449 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained89%
Estimated Containment DateSunday October 31st, 2021 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Short Grass (1 foot)

Timber (Litter and Understory)

Brush (2 feet)

Fuels are primarily heavy forest litter with a shrub or small tree understory including mortality fuels. Grass fuels in open stands and meadows.

Significant Events




Fire is burning in mixed conifer, pine and grass. Primarily smoldering with some creeping occurring.


Planned Actions

Confine fire to Forest Service lands to protect and limit impacts to adjacent landowner property and values at risk, to include private properties east of HWY 284 and south Confederate Gulch to the North Fork of Cabin Gulch and properties east of the forest boundary along Benton Gulch, Camas Creek, Birch

Creek, and Grassy Mountain to the south. Continue Suppression Repair Operations in conjunction with ongoing fire suppression operations when feasible.

As of September 13, a Burned Area Emergency Response team has started to assess the effects of post fire risk to values on the ground.

Separate BAER page has been established to document progress.

Projected Incident Activity

Heavy fuels will continue to support burning with limited spread potential. Could see occasional isolated individual tree torching.


October 5, 2021 - Smoke may be visible from Townsend, White Sulphur Springs and other adjacent communities until a significant amount of precipitation occurs on the Woods Creek Fire. Many interior fuels continue to burn within the fire perimeter, sometimes resulting in large amounts of smoke being produced. The fire is not posing a risk to neighboring communities at this time and is actively being managed by a Type 4 Incident Commander.