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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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Final Daily Update for 8/24/20

Wood Lake Fire Wildfire
News – 8/24/2020

Wood Lake Fire

Final Update

August 24th, 2020

Fire Information Line: (406) 750-8934

Public Inquiry Email:

Type IV 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. Crews constructed containment line to reinforce the retardant drops where the file had potential to advance toward Benchmark road.  The other portions of the fire burned into scabby timber and rock and the fire lost momentum to move.   Since containment line cannot be built within the rock, the 30% containment status will remain indefinitely.  On 8/23, the fire was transferred back to a type-IV incident commander, and most of the resources assigned to the fire were demobilized on 8/23 & 8/24.  Rocky Mountain Ranger District personnel will continue to patrol and mop up until seasonal weather terminates this fire.

Size:  Approximately 87 acres             Containment:  30%                                         Cause:  Lightning

Structures threatened:  0                   Location:  21 miles southwest of Augusta      Structures destroyed:  0

Fire Crews:  Lewis and Clark Wildland Fire Module

Air Support: Type-3 Helicopter

Engines: 1

Total Personnel: 14

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 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.  The Lewis and Clark Interagency Hotshots were demobilized and the Lewis and Clark Wildland Fire Module will remain spike camped at the fire to monitor and mop up as needed.  Hose lays remain in place among the treatment units of the Benchmark Fuel Reduction project areas of Double Falls and Whitewater.  Please note, although the Aspen area was mentioned numerous times in previous updates, the Whitewater area was the second area besides Double Falls that had hose lays installed, not the Aspen area. 

Today’s Operations:  The Helena Interagency Hotshots, type 1 helicopter, and one engine were demobilized.  The local wildland fire module is on hand to monitor for hotspots and conduct mop us as necessary.  The remaining engine crew will patrol and is available to operate the in-place hose lays among the fuel treatment units of Double Falls and Whitewater.    

Evacuations and Closures:  Wood Lake, Wood Lake campground, Wood Lake picnic area, and the Petty-Crown Trailhead and associated loop trail remain closed to allow helicopters to safely retrieve water from Wood Lake. In addition, all dispersed camping is 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:  Today temperatures will reach the mid 80s in the fire area and temperatures are expected to be hot and dry through most of this week.  Winds are forecast to reach 10–15 mph this afternoon.  Monday evening into Tuesday will bring an increased chance for isolated thunderstorms.  By this weekend, a widespread cooling trend is expected.  Smoke conditions from the California fires will continue to have a slight impact along the Rocky Mountain Front and air quality is currently listed as MODERATE.  Keep track of hourly concentrations at

Temporary Flight Restrictions:  All flight restrictions are lifted.

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