Meyers Sapphire Complex Update for September 13, 2017
Incident: Sapphire Complex-Little Hogback Wildfire
Fire Information Line: 406-859-9107 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sapphire Complex: 43,740 acres Location: Approximately 25 miles south-southeast of Missoula
Containment: 60% Cause: Lightning Total Personnel: 183
Three fires comprise the Sapphire Complex: Little Hogback, Goat Creek, and Sliderock. The fires are in steep, rocky terrain between Rock Creek and Upper Willow Creek drainages.
Little Hogback Fire: 34,539 acres
The east side of the fire is in patrol and mop-up status with some rehabilitation starting on the north side. Firefighters continue to secure the south-central part of the fire’s periphery in the area of The Wedge where active fire remains. Structure protection along Rock Creek Road from Wild Rose to Stony Creek continues to be a priority. In Idle Ranch Court and Trout Haven subdivision, structures are prepped and sprinklers are in place to protect residences as the northwest corner of the fire remains active. Helicopters continue water drops in this area to help keep fire growth in check. Unburned pockets in the interior continue to burn.
Goat Creek Fire: 8,300 acres
Firefighters continue rehabilitation of constructed fire breaks and mop up of hot spots along the fire edge on the east side of Goat Creek.
Sliderock Fire: 900 acres
There has been no growth in the overall size of this fire; any hot spots are in the fire interior. Rehabilitation of constructed firelines has begun.
Meyers Fire: 61,885 acres Location: Approximately 25 miles southwest of Philipsburg, Montana
Containment: 8% Cause: Lightning Total Personnel: 332
The fire is burning in mixed conifer stands, primarily lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, and subalpine fir, with many standing dead trees. These snags have become increasingly dangerous to firefighters as they burn through and get pushed over by wind.
Currently, the Carpp Creek drainage at the eastern part of the fire is a high priority. Several spot fires occurred yesterday on the north side of the creek and helicopters were used to drop water to keep those in check. Monitoring and water drops will continue as needed to try to keep the fire on the south side of Carpp Creek. Structure protection measures ahead of this drainage, particularly at Moose Lake, continue to be monitored for readiness. Contingency fire breaks between there and Georgetown Lake are in place and structures are being assessed for protection. Crews continue to mop-up and secure some areas of concern around the fire, including southeast of Zeke’s Meadows. Active fire continues to work its way down the East Fork of the Bitterroot drainage. Firefighters are working on fireline construction around the Billie Springer Memorial and Bonanza Lands subdivisions. This work has taken longer than expected but should be complete in the next two days. At the south end of the fire where it has crossed the Continental Divide into the Wise River Ranger District in Beaverhead and Deerlodge counties, exposed rocky areas continue to slow growth. Yesterday this area generated a lot of smoke, but there was not much fire growth. This area will continue to be monitored from the air but incident managers do not anticipate significant fire growth there.
Sapphire Complex: Private property and structures remain at risk in the Rock Creek and Upper Willow Creek drainages. Other resources threatened include fisheries in Rock Creek, working ranches, commercial structures including outfitter and guide businesses, RV/cabin rental businesses and the Bonneville Power Administration powerline.
Meyers Fire: Private property and structures in the Moose Lake, Frog Pond, Billie Springer Memorial Park, Bonanza Lands, Senate Mountain, Ross Fork, East Fork and Georgetown Lake areas, as well as other scattered dwellings are still at risk and continue to be prepped and monitored. Nearby grazing land also remains a concern.
Sapphire Complex: A mandatory evacuation (Level Red) order for approximately fifty-six structures along Upper Rock Creek Road remains in effect. It starts at and includes Wild Rose Loop south to Stony Creek. Pre-evacuation (Level Yellow) notices remain in effect for Upper Rock Creek Road from Stony Creek south to the Kyle G. Bohrnsen Memorial Bridge. It includes residences on the lower Cornish Gulch Road and Basin Gulch Road, and Upper Rock Creek Road residences from Bobcat Creek south to Hogback Homestead. For information on evacuation planning refer to the Ready-Set-Go materials available at http://www.wildlandfirersg.org/Portals/18/Resources/States/MT/RSG_Montana_ActionGuide_web.pdf
Meyers Fire: The Frog Pond and Moose Lake areas are still under a mandatory evacuation order and the Billie Springer Memorial and Bonanza subdivisions are under warning for evacuation. Additionally, an evacuation warning is in effect on East Fork Road from FS Road 5778 to Little East Fork Rd (FS Rd 724) on the Bitterroot National Forest. Those under an evacuation warning should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.
Closures are in place to protect the public from potential harm from wildfires and firefighting operations.
Sapphire Complex: The Rock Creek Road from I-90 south to Bitterroot Campground (MP 23.5) is OPEN. Due to fire traffic congestion and fire safety concerns, Rock Creek Road will stay CLOSED from Bitterroot Campground, south to Cornish Gulch (FSR5027), and public traffic is NOT allowed. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest reduced closure restrictions in the Black Pine ridge area, but maintains all area closures in Upper Willow Creek, North Fork Lower Willow Creek, and Harvey Creek areas. Upper Willow Creek Road remains closed to the public. The Lolo National Forest still has area closures east and north of Rock Creek Road, south of I-90 and east to the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest boundary. The Bureau of Land Management has an area closure in Upper Willow Creek, Ram Mountain, and nearby areas. The Lolo and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forests, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources (DNRC) closure orders and maps are posted under the closures tab on Inciweb. A temporary flight restriction (TFR) remains in effect surrounding the Little Hogback Fire area.
Meyers Fire: Bitterroot National Forest emergency closure orders are still in effect for upper areas of the East Fork Bitterroot River. The expanded Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest closure also remains in effect. On the south side of the fire, the closure extends between Bender Creek and LaMarche Creek, including Pintler Campground and Trailhead, Mystic Trailhead, Mussigbrod Campground and Trailhead, and all trailheads in the Mudd Creek and Fishtrap Creek areas. Several miles of the Continental Divide Trail are closed. A TFR is still in place surrounding the Meyers Fire area. Granite County is under Stage 2 fire restrictions for private lands in the county. Amended Stage 1 fire restrictions are in effect prohibiting ALL campfires in southwestern Montana on public lands, including in fire rings and developed recreation areas. For fire restriction details, visit firerestrictions.us/mt.
An area of low pressure will drop out of Canada late today, increasing chances of precipitation tonight. Rain will become continuous late Thursday through Friday and the snow level could drop to 9000 feet by Thursday evening and potentially down to 5500 on Friday. Today’s high temperatures will be in the mid-70s on the Meyers Fire and mid-70s to mid-80s on the Hogback Fire. Humidity will be in the teens to mid-20s in the valleys and mid-20s to low-30s at upper elevations. Southwest winds at 12-17 mph are expected by late morning.
For further information, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov and select “Meyers Fire” or “Sapphire Complex” in Montana, and follow the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Facebook, Bitterroot National Forest Facebook or Lolo National Forest pages.