Lolo National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
24 Fort Missoula Road
Missoula, MT 59804
Miller Gulch Fire Update – September 5, 2019
Yesterday’s cold front passage, which included erratic winds, grew the Miller Gulch Fire to 297 acres. No structures or infrastructure are threatened at this time.
Fire behavior was moderate-active and continues to creep, back and smolder on the forest floor with occasional active burning and single-tree torching in heavy dead and downed timber. Fire growth is predominately to the northeast toward the ridgeline with some roll-out of burning material to the west.
Roll out of smoldering debris is occurring on the western perimeter of the fire due to steep slopes; the terrain is causing the fire to back slowly down the slope toward Rock Creek Road. Firefighters are in this area patrolling the road, clearing debris and coordinating with the helicopter which is being used to check fire spread.
Although today is expected to be warm and dry with potential moderate to active fire behavior, firefighters are anticipating a cooler, wetter trend over the weekend and into next week which will moderate and subdue fire behavior.
Today, two engines are patrolling in the Miller Flats area, and a public information officer will be in the area today.
No closures are in place; however, those travelling on Rock Creek Road are advised to drive with caution and care as firefighters and engines are on the road. The fire has loosened material on the steep slope above and firefighters are present to clear any debris on the road and provide for public safety.
Cliff bands and scree fields exist between the fire and Rock Creek Road which is moderating fire behavior. These natural barriers along with previous burned areas, and previous prescribed fire areas are being utilized to manage the Miller Gulch Fire under a confine and contain suppression strategy.
Because of periodic fire activity in heavy dead and downed timber, the fire is producing more smoke, which is primarily drifting to the northeast. Smoke is visible from the Rock Creek drainage and settling may occur in the valley bottom at night.
The Miller Gulch Fire will likely smolder until a season-ending event occurs. Information is being posted at campgrounds and prominent locations along the Rock Creek Road Corridor, and will be updated as fire activity merits.
Start Date: August 19, 2019
Location: Located approximately 20 miles south of I-90 off of Rock Creek Road and a mile east and upslope of Bitterroot Flat Campground
Terrain: steep, rugged, inaccessible terrain
Fuel type: Grass, mountain shrub, heavy dead and downed trees and heavy timber
Structures Threatened: No structures or infrastructure threatened at this time
Personnel on Fire: 20 (two engines, Incident Commanders, 10 person crew) and a Type 1 helicopter is assigned to this fire