Helena - Lewis and Clark National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2880 Skyway Drive Helena Montana 59602
Helena, MT 59602
The fire was very active yesterday near Highway 200 and in the Tom’s Gulch area. The most significant activity took place approximately ¾ mile northeast of the Elk Meadows subdivision near Highway 200. Suppression efforts were led by helicopter water drops and dozers putting in fire line. Highway 200 remains open at this time. Drivers can expect reduced visibility and fire traffic on the roadway. A temporary closure of the highway is still possible if fire conditions warrant.
Fire lines held well during yesterday’s Red Flag Warning conditions. Crews completed a burnout operation last night near Tom’s Gulch to help strengthen containment lines. They also saw fire activity in the Telephone Gulch area, where they will use aviation resources today to get aerial views of the location and possibly use heavy equipment to further secure the fire line.
The fire area is not under a Red Flag Warning today for the first time in several days. Temperatures today are predicted to be in the low to mid 70s, with humidity above 30%. A westerly wind should move ahead of the incoming cold front, switching to north winds late in the afternoon. Fire activity is expected to decrease over the next several days due to cooler and wetter weather moving into the area
Today’s weather should give firefighters good working conditions. The finer fuels, or lighter vegetation, will burn, but fire activity should be less erratic than in the previous days. Some torching of trees is still possible, but spotting is less likely.
Fire personnel plan to use a dozer today on the north perimeter and put in water bars to mitigate erosion as rain moves into the area. Though the fire has not been active in the East Fork of Falls Creek, fire managers are closely monitoring any progression that could allow the fire to approach the Dearborn community.
The Montana Department of Transportation has issued a temporary 35 mph speed limit along Highway 200 in the fire area as well as along Highway 434 at the Hoon Incident Command Post to ensure the safety of fire crews and motorists in the area. Drivers are asked to travel cautiously in these areas as slow moving equipment and firefighters may be on the road at any time.
Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for residents between mile marker 92 and highway 434 – along highway 200 on both sides of the road. Elk Meadows/Evergreen subdivisions are under mandatory evacuation notices. Landers Fork, Elk Trail Park and the Alice Creek communities are under a “pre-evacuation” notice.