Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation
Missoula, MT 59804
Great Basin Incident Management Team (IMT) #2 will transfer command of the East Fork Fire to a local Type 3 IMT on Friday, September 8 at 6 a.m.
The team would like to thank Hill County, Blaine County, State of Montana, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Rocky Boy Reservation and all others involved for their support and cooperation during our time on the fire.
Yesterday: Firefighters continued to patrol, secure and mop up along containment lines. They successfully located and extinguished hotspots in the Clear Creek and southern Little Box Elder Creek. While firefighters continue to make good progress, heat still remains in the heavy fuels of the Little Box Elder Canyon and the timber stringers along the canyon. Helicopter water drops were used to extinguish hot spots in these areas.
While the majority of the fire perimeter in now contained, firefighters continued to patrol and improve these lines as needed. Work to insure hotspots in Mooney Coulee have been extinguished also continued. In many places along the fireline where containment had been achieved, suppression repair efforts either continued or began. Night shift patrolled the fire line to insure the fire stayed within containment lines.
Actions Planned: Firefighters will once again work in Little Box Elder Canyon where heavy fuels continue to hold heat. In Mooney Coulee, crews will continue mopping up near structures as needed. The remaining portions of the fire perimeter that are contained will be patrolled and improved and suppression repair will continue where needed. Even as fire containment is increasing, smoke may be seen from unburned pockets of fuels burning in the interior of the fire. These unburned pockets are no threat to the fire perimeter.
Closures: The Hill County Sheriff’s Department has lifted the evacuation order on Sucker Creek Road and Taylor Roads allowing property owners to return to these areas. Sucker Creek Road has been opened to local residents; the public is urged to stay out of the area due to heavy equipment and emergency personnel still working in the area. Highway 234 will remain closed from Taylor Road south. Beaver Creek Park and all side roads within the park remain closed to recreation.
Background: The East Fork Fire started on August 27, 2017; the cause is under investigation. It is on private lands in Blaine County, Hill County and on the Rocky Boy Reservation, south of Havre, Montana. The state of Montana also has land within the fire area as well as a small piece of Bureau of Land Management land.
Weather: Following the predicted trend for the week today will continue to be dry and warm. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 80s with winds from the ESE at 8 to 12 mph gusting to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Relative humidity is expected to drop to 10% to 15%.