Sunrise Fire Update for August 11, 2017
Objectives and Strategy: Firefighter and public safety is the first priority for suppression activities. Over the next few days the team will work to slow the growth of the fire to allow for more effective and safe engagement by strategically introducing fire to unburned areas; lessening the likelihood for high-intensity and fast moving fire. This tactic will be used in a limited and deliberate fashion, when conditions are favorable. This will allow the fire to grow naturally in areas where values, such as life and property, are not threatened and/or fire is spreading in a manner that helps reach containment goals.
Closures: The area closure around the Sunrise Fire now includes the Trout Creek Road (250). Road blocks are in place near the Pellet Mill (lower Trout Creek) and Junc. Rd 7813 with Rd 250 near the Divide. TravelersFrom Cedar Creek, travelers should use Hoodoo Pass Rd (#388), thru Freezeout Pass to Freezeout Road (7813). Travelers are also advised to use high clearance vehicles and not tow trailers.
Yesterday: Burnout operations continued on the north side of Quartz Creek drainage to reduce fuel loading around structures. An extensive aerial ignition took place during the last few hours of daylight on the ridge between Cougar Gulch and Trout Creek. This ignition follows our strategy to create a low intensity, backing fire along ridges to consume fuels prior to any head fire that may come down canyon that would likely threaten structures. This operation was very visible from the I-90 corridor near Superior. The northern edge of the main fire now extends into the head of Cougar Gulch.
Today: Burnout operations continue on the north side of the Quartz Creek drainage to reduce fuel loading around structures. Fire managers will monitor the progress of yesterday’s aerial ignition operation to determine effectiveness and further needs. Engine crews will patrol for new spot fires. Firefighters continue mop-up to secure fire perimeter around homes in Sunrise, Quartz Flats, and Verde Creek areas. Helicopters will support ground-based efforts and lessen heat on north and south leading edges.
Weather: Warm and dry conditions today with minimum relative humidity dropping into the upper teens during the afternoon. Increased instability will lead to a slight chance of thunderstorms, but no precipitation is expected. East winds are expected to be light.
Evacuations: Cougar Gulch,Quartz Creek and Verde Creek are in Stage 3 evacuation. At 7 a.m. August12, Trout Creek residents above the pellet mill will move to Stage III.
Sunrise and Quartz Flat are in Stage 2 evacuation. At 8 a.m. August 12, River Bend and residents along the Diamond Match Rd. from pellet mill down to the railroad overpass will move into Stage III Evacuation.
The Red Cross is prepared to open a shelter at Superior High School for evacuees.
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): There is a TFR over the Sunrise Fire. http://tfr.faa.gov/ .
Air quality information: Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/