Helena - Lewis and Clark National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2880 Skyway Drive
Helena, MT 59602
A community meeting to receive an update on the fire situation will take place at 6 p.m. Monday evening at the Augusta School (410 Broadway, Augusta, MT).
AUGUSTA, MT – A cold frontal passage passed over the fire area last night. This passage brought very strong winds that blew the fire primarily west and south. The fire also established in Telephone Gulch on the southeastern flank and is also north of the North Fork of Greek Creek. Due to the rapid fire growth, a reconnaissance flight will take place this morning if air quality allows, to give firefighters a better understanding of the fire area.
At 11:50 last night, the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff issued evacuation orders the Landers Fork and Elk Trail Subdivisions due to the fire backing down Alice Creek. Law Enforcement officers reported smoke had reduced visibility in Elk Trail Loop to approximately 25 feet. Highway 200 is open.
The Alice Creek Basin and the Tom’s Gulch were also evacuated last night. These areas were put on a pre-evacuation notice yesterday.
An accurate count of the structures impacted from last night’s growth is unknown. Firefighters are looking for and assessing these. The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff is a central partner in helping firefighters with this work.
The Dearborn Community has not received a pre-evacuation notice at this time. While the fire is moving in a northerly direction east of Blowout Mountain, fire leadership anticipates a northwesterly wind will blow the fire east, towards Little Skunk Creek today.
The last known fire size: 17,480 acres. This is a size gain of 5,887 acres.
Due to numerous evacuation orders taking place, incident personnel are not allowing evacuated residents back into the fire area until they can get a better understanding of the fire’s overall growth throughout the night. When conditions allow, the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff may provide escorts. This may not occur until Tuesday or Wednesday.
Highway 200 from Bowman's Corner, intersection of 287 and the west end, 279 is open.
Firefighters staffed engines and dozers overnight to provide coverage in critical areas. A dozer constructing containment line in Little and Big Skunk Creeks Southwest of Sugarloaf Mountain was forced to stop working in that area as a result of shifting winds.
At 7 a.m. this morning, the day shift received their operational briefing and is developing a new plan that includes getting aircraft in the sky early to get a better understanding of the fire's movement.
Two additional hand crews and three medium helicopters capable of delivering water and transporting people are on loan to the Fire from neighboring incidents. These resources are being shared due to the very high demand for their capabilities on surrounding fires.
Much cooler temperatures and higher humidity will set in today. Brisk northeasterly winds will gradually relax and come from the east by the afternoon. With this weather, firefighters anticipate the fire spreading generally to the south and southeast and will also be under the influence of terrain winds. By Tuesday, high pressure is building back in over the region that will increase the temperatures back into the 80’s.
A Red Cross Shelter is on standby at the Wolf Creek Elementary School (150 Walsh St, Wolf Creek, MT). Area residents that may need assistance are encouraged to contact Red Cross at 1-800-272-6668.
Forest managers are enlarging a forest area closure today due to extensive fire activity. This closure order will be posted at on the Forest’s Facebook Page, Forest Web Site and on InciWeb at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/5410/
To sign up to receive emergency notification messages from the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff, register for Smart911 at: https://www.smart911.com/smart911/registration/registrationLanding.action
MORE INFORMATION: Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov;