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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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Incident Contact

Woods Creek Fire Information
Phone: 406-426-9612
Hours: M-F 8am - 8pm

Smoke Plume from the Woods Creek Fire on July 26th.Image options: [ Full Size ]

The Woods Creek Fire was discovered on Saturday, July 10 near Boulder Lakes in the Big Belt Mountains. Air attack was immediately launched to size up the fire. Upon arrival the initial size up was a half acre in sub alpine fir and lodgepole pine on the upper third of the ridge. Fire behavior was occasional tree torching and active ground fire. A Type 1 helicopter was ordered and proceeded to perform 20 bucket drops of 1,200 gallons a drop during the fuel cycle. The decision was made to fly in ground resources with a helicopter as the closest road access is approximately 5 miles. Upon arrival, the IC noticed that the fire had rolled off the cliff and trees were torching 300 feet below them, fire behavior was picking up around the fire, there were multiple spots, and there was a substantial amount of standing snags and high concentrations of ground fuel. The decision was made to pull resources off the fire due safety concerns and lack of available resources for support.  

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginSaturday July 10th, 2021 approx. 12:00 AM
Location16 miles NE of Townsend, MT
Incident CommanderSteve Parrish, ICT1
Coordinates46.553 latitude, -111.356 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel249
Size18,107 Acres
Estimated Containment DateSunday October 31st, 2021 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Short Grass (1 foot)

Timber (Litter and Understory)

Fine fuel moistures will dry today once the cloud cover and moisture from yesterday's rain event moves out of the area, heavy and live fuels are still at critical levels.

Significant Events

With yesterday's precipitation, fire behavior will be minimal today. In the morning hours, very little fire activity is expected. As fine fuels dry during the day, fire behavior will increase but is not expected to be more than minimal.


Planned Actions

Identify and implement tactics that have a high probability for success for suppression/containment actions. Continue prepping values at risk along Confederate Gulch and Duck Creek. Continue scouting and planning for future opportunities. Address structure protection/strategic burning.

Projected Incident Activity

12 hours:

Minimal fire behavior is expected throughout the day,

smoldering and creeping fire.

24 hours:

With the return to drier conditions fire behavior will increase, expect moderate fire behavior with surface fire, flanking, backing, and possible torching.


IR flights were not able to be flown the last three nights.

The fire received between 0.10 to 0.75 inches of rain.

Manual adjustments resulted in a change in acreage due to lack of IR flights.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Fog and low clouds slowly lifted through the morning. Daytime heating will drop the RH levels to 25-30% this afternoon as temperatures increase. Lingering moisture may allow for isolated showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Expect warmer, drier conditions on Wednesday.