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Wood Lake Fire

Unit Information

Helena - Lewis and Clark National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2880 Skyway Drive
Helena, MT 59602

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Daily Update for 8/23/20

Wood Lake Fire Wildfire
News – 8/23/2020

Wood Lake Fire Daily Update

Sunday, August 23nd, 2020

Fire Information Line:
(406) 750-8934

Public Inquiry Email:

Type III Incident Commander:  Alex Brooks

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The Wood Lake Fire was reported by the Prairie Reef lookout at 10am on Monday, August 17th with an estimated size of 3 acres. By 6 p.m. the same day its growth was estimated at 50 acres with active fire behavior and spotting a quarter of a mile ahead of the fire front. The fire is in steep, rugged terrain on the upper third of a north-facing slope. The Rocky Mountain Ranger District's initial response consisted of a 6-person district fire module and a 4-person engine module. The Lewis and Clark Interagency Hotshots were on-scene by 2:00 p.m., supported by 2 Type-1 helicopters for water drops, and 1 Type-2 for transportation needs. Additionally, a large air tanker delivered 5 loads of retardant and single-engine-air-tankers delivered 15 loads of retardant, which helped hold the fire until fire crews could mobilize.

Size:  Approximately 87 acres              
Containment:  30%                          
Cause:  Lightning 
Location:  21 miles southwest of Augusta                                                                                Structures threatened:  0                                                                                                              Sructures destroyed:  0

Fire Crews:  Lewis & Clark Interagency Hotshots, Helena Hotshots, Rocky Mountain Ranger District Module

Air Support: 1 Type-1 and 1 Type-3 Helicopter

Engines: 2

Total Personnel: 75

Yesterday’s Operations: Fire activity throughout the day was minimal with some creeping and smoldering and a rare smoke in the areas where the fire has burned into steep, rocky terrain.  No smoke was detected outside of the containment line.  Both the type-1 and type-3 helicopter were on hand to deliver water drops as needed.  Crews spent the day reinforcing containment line, patrolling, and cooling areas of heat.   Crews likewise kept hose lays in constant operation on the fuel treatment units in the Double Falls and Aspen areas. 

Today’s Operations:  Crews will once again reinforce containment, patrol, and cool hot spots that may crop up with the hot, dry and breezy weather.  Crews in the Double Falls and Aspen areas will continue wetting the area with the hose lay infrastructure.    A type IV incident commander will assume command this afternoon, and the Lewis and Clark Interagency Hotshots will demobilize.  The Rocky Mountain Ranger District’s Wildland Fire Module will remain spike camped with the fire overnight tonight to again be on hand for patrol and containment reinforcement as needed.   The Helena Interagency Hotshots and two engine modules will patrol and operate hose lays on the treatment units near Double Falls and Aspen areas. 

Evacuations and Closures:  Wood Lake, Wood Lake campground, Wood Lake picnic area, and the Petty-Crown Trailhead and associated loop trail are still temporarily closed so helicopters can safely retrieve water from Wood Lake. In addition, all dispersed camping is still closed from the Forest boundary along Benchmark Road to Wood Lake.  However, Benchmark Road remains open for through traffic. Motorists are reminded not to stop in the fire vicinity as it creates a safety hazard to fire personnel and the public.

Weather & Fuel Conditions:  A dry cold front is pushing through northwest Montana.  Despite this front, the ridge of high pressure situated over Montana will not break down. This ridge, and subsequent southwesterly flow, has ushered in smoke from across the region.  Air quality along the Rocky Mountain Front is reported as MODERATE.   Keep track of hourly concentrations at

Temporary Flight Restrictions: Temporary flight restrictions are in effect around the entire fire area.

Physical information availability:  Fire information boards will be posted daily at the Augusta Information Station, and the Choteau Ranger District Office.