July 24 Evening Little Hogback/Sliderock/Goat Creek Fires Update
Incident: Goat Creek Fire Wildfire
Approximate Size: Little Hogback 2,326 acres Sliderock 396 acres Goat Creek: 1,817 acres
Containment: Little Hogback 0% Sliderock 5% Goat Creek: 0%
Total personnel: 287
As of July 24th the Goat Creek, Sliderock and Little Hogback fires will be known as the Sapphire Complex.
The Little Hogback, Sliderock and Goat Creek fires are located approximately 25 miles south-southeast of Missoula. Incident Commander Irv Leach’s Type 2 Incident Management team will continue working with Forest Service, Montana DNRC, and Granite County Sheriff’s Office in suppressing all three fires with a comprehensive fire management strategy.
The Lolo National Forest has issued an enlarged forest and road closures (Order No. F17-053-LOLO-03). The closure is intended to ensure firefighter and public safety, and includes all or parts of Rock Creek Road, Brewster Creek Rd., Upper Brewster Creek Rd., Sliderock Mountain Rd., Upper Willow Creek Rd., and Rd. #8419. All or parts of the following trails are closed: Grizzly Creek, John Long, Butte Cabin Creek, Butte Cabin Ridge, Hogback Ridge, and Ranch Creek. Visit the official Little Hogback/Sliderock Fire incident information page at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5364/ for details and map of the closures.
Goat Creek: (approx. 1,817 ac.): The fire was active on the north edge moving towards Spring Creek. This movement was influenced by the strong gusty winds. The southeast flank showed minimal movement despite the red flag warning. “It was a good day given the predicted weather” said Operations Section Chief Don Hammack. Air resources worked dropping water to cool the fire’s edge all day Monday. Construction and improvement of the indirect fire line continues, progressing beyond Burnt Mountain with the aid of heavy equipment including a dozer and skidgen. Crews will continue patrolling around structures. As was predicted, all of the fires were tested by significant weather but crews were prepared and implemented planned tactics as safely as possible.
Little Hogback: (approx. 2,326 ac.) The bulk of activity was observed on the northeast side of the fire. A team of heavy equipment continues to open safe access points. This equipment included a skidgen, feller buncher, dozer and skidder. Fire growth continues to be influenced by available vegetation and winds. This weather pattern will continue into the coming days.
Sliderock: (approx. 396 ac.) Bucket work by large helicopters was utilized when wind conditions allowed on Monday. The fire moved south and east but overall growth was not significant. The new start that was located on Sunday evening by air resources was worked today by smokejumpers and air tankers delivered several loads of fire retardant. The Cinnabar 3 fire is currently estimated at one and a half acres.
Weather: Northwest winds that were predicted for today will diminish into the evening hours. Tuesday is predicted to be a quiet day for fire weather as compared to previous days with light winds however temperatures will remain hot. A chance of thunderstorms are still predicted for Wednesday and they will be a mix of wet and dry.
Special Concerns: Dead trees are of extreme concern to fire fighter safety. There is an abundance of dead lodgepole pine, especially in Little Hogback. These snags are an extreme hazard to firefighters as they attempt to suppress these fires and caution is being used to minimize risk while still achieving suppression objectives. In addition, steep slopes, limited access, and challenging communication abilities have challenged firefighters in the suppression of both fires.
More Information: Fire behavior can change rapidly and visitors are encouraged to contact Fire Information at 406-540-3589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for current fire information. Current Fire and closure information is posted on InciWeb at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5364/ and on the Lolo National Forest Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/lolonationalforest/