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Bear Creek Fire

Unit Information

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
420 Barrett St
Dillon, MT 59725

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Fire Update: August 17, Morning Update

Bear Creek Fire Wildfire
News – 8/17/2020



August 17, 2020   8:00 a.m. 

 Phone:   406-284-5602 (Information line: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.)  

 406-417-0415 (media line) 

DATE OF DETECTION: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 

CAUSE:  Lightning  

CURRENT SIZE:  6,334 acres  


LOCATION:   Lemhi Pass area (29 miles East of Salmon Idaho)  

JURISDICTION:  Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest 

COOPERATING AGENCIES:  Beaverhead County (MT), Lemhi County (ID), BLM, Montana DNRC, Salmon-Challis National Forest 

PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE:  Resources assigned to the fire include eight helicopters, two fixed-wing water scooping airplanes, one Type 2 crew, five Type 2 IA crews, three Type 1 crews, 19 engines and 403 total personnel.    

YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY:  The fire was active on the northwest end in the afternoon, with a visible smoke column. Two to four-foot flames were observed in the interior of the fire. Fire behavior was mostly surface fire under the heavy timber, with backing fire in the lighter fuels. Around 3 p.m., cloud cover over the fire resulted in decreased activity. To the west, crews worked to connect line from the 515 to the Continental Divide, which will be a multi-day project with support from heavy equipment. Crews conducted fuel mitigation along the 70020 road to the Continental Divide. “Scoopers” supported the ground crews with water drops, flying two fuel cycles throughout the day. Night shift engines monitored the fire for hot spots overnight. 

TODAYS WEATHER:  Temperatures today are expected to be in the low to mid-80s. Relative humidity will be in the high teens to low twenties. Winds over the fire area are highly variable due to topographic features. Gusts are expected to reach 24 mph. Increased cloud cover and decreased fire behavior are expected, with a slight chance of thunderstorms starting around 2pm on the north side of the fire. The chance for thunderstorms will increase throughout the week before returning to hot and dry weather towards the end of the week. 

TODAY’S PLANNED ACTIVITY: Fire activity is expected in the South Fork of Everson, in the Black Canyon Creek area and along the 3918 road. The fire will also likely continue to flank on the northwest side along the Continental Divide. On the northeast side of the fire, crews will conduct burnout operations in the Bear Gulch area, if conditions are favorable. Structure protection is in place for a few structures to the east of the fire. Crews also plan to burn from the 1883 road under favorable conditions. To the west, crews will work to connect line from the 515 to the Continental Divide. On the southwest side of the fire, crews will scout for an alternative line up to the Continental Divide to use if the fire moves past the original line. Crews will develop a firing plan to burn out Upper Black Canyon drainage if crews cannot hold the line at Black Canyon. Air support will be available throughout the day, including two "scoopers." Night shift will continue to monitor the fire area tonight.  

SPECIAL CONCERNS: Those recreating on Clark Canyon Reservoir should be aware of aircraft using the water source for fire activity. Recreators should stay clear of area aircraft. Public and firefighter safety concerns are the top priority. Any public using the roads near the fire area should expect heavy fire traffic; please drive slowly for safety reasons. Hunters should check Inciweb and/or call for closure information and maps.  

The fire is burning in timber/heavy fuels. These fuels will continue to dry out with low relative humidity. The area provides poor access and there is a lack of water in the immediate area of the fire. Crews will work to protect cultural resources and other values at risk.  

CLOSURES:  Area, road, and trail closures are in effect. Refer to the “Closures” and “Photos” tabs of the Inciweb site for narrative descriptions and maps of all agency closures. Lemhi Pass Road is closed from its junction with Montana Highway 324 to Lemhi Pass. The public is strongly encouraged to refrain from entering the area/nearby road system due to heavy fire traffic.  

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