Helena - Lewis and Clark National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2880 Skyway Drive Helena Montana 59602
Helena, MT 59602
Last night, due to active fire behavior, the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation for 11 residents located along Highway 200. While the evacuation temporarily closed Highway 200, at midnight, the Highway was re-opened. Due to active fire behavior expected throughout the day, the Highway may need to be closed at intervals. The Montana Highway Patrol and sheriff’s deputies are patrolling the road to maintain safety. Drivers should use Highway 200 only if necessary and are asked to please drive cautiously. Smoke is limiting visibility.
A temporary shelter is available for evacuees at the Wolf Creek School (150 Walsh St, Wolf Creek, MT). Area residents that may need assistance are encouraged to contact Red Cross at 1-800-272-6668.
AUGUSTA, MT –Late this afternoon, there is a chance of dry thunderstorms ahead of a strong dry cold front that is expected to move over the Alice Creek Fire this afternoon through Sunday morning. This combination of strong westerly winds with very dry conditions have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag Warning that will be in effect late this afternoon through tonight.
The weather, very dry standing dead and down timber, combined with steep slopes have created a fire environment that may produce crowning fire that can produce spot fires up to a half mile ahead of itself. As fire activity increases across the Alice Creek Fire area, visibility diminishes. This restricts firefighter’s ability to see the exact location of the fire’s movements. As conditions deteriorate, firefighters will be guided by aircraft providing eyes in the sky where air quality allows. When firefighters cannot see, they will pull back to strategic locations and safely reengage when and where possible.
Very warm and dry overnight conditions last night kept firefighters busy throughout the night, particularly in the Elk Meadow/Evergreen subdivision where the fire is skirting above the structures. Fire engines are spread across the community, ready to respond should an ember establish in an area that immediately threatens the area. Water pumps are feeding sprinklers in strategic locations to wet the area and lower temperatures as much as possible.
Personnel are using all available equipment to respond to the fire’s movements that immediately threaten infrastructure. Dozers, skidgens and feller bunchers (“clippers”) are improving existing roads across the entire southern flank. These roads are serving as containment lines to help protect unincorporated communities and ranches near the fire.
A heliwell (large tank) has been placed east of the fire for use by helicopters. Heliwells can hold up to 5,000 gallons of water. Having this close to the fire makes a quick “turnaround” time for helicopters to fill their buckets rapidly and return to the fire. A dozer and skidgen are working in the Falls Creeks area constructing direct and indirect fire line from Falls Creek drainage east to Falls Creek Ridge to prevent further fire spread to the north.
The Alice Creek Fire is now approximately 24,128 acres. More accurate mapping will occur tonight to determine the past 48 hours of fire growth.
Great Basin Team 2, commanded by Kim Martin is shadowing team members from Great Basin Team 5 today in preparation for a transfer of command that will take place tomorrow morning. This activity helps the incoming incident management team download critical information necessary for maintaining continuity to have a seamless transition. The Augusta Incident Command Post will begin moving to the Hoon Spike camp and will be called the Hoon Incident Command Post Sunday.
Resources: Personnel: 215 Crews: 1 Engines: 19 Water Tenders: 8 Skidgens: 3 Dozers: 7