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Christensen Fire

Unit Information

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

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Alder Creek, Trail Creek, and Christensen Fires Update 9/2/21

Christensen Fire Wildfire
News – 9/2/2021

Fire managers started to consolidate and scale down the support organization, as they reposition the main Incident Command Post to Wisdom Airport over the next few days.

A helicopter assigned to the fires assisted with the report of a new start in the Sand Lake area, approximately eight miles northeast of Wisdom.

The fire was active along the ridgeline between Three Mile Creek and Smithy Creek. Winds, shifting to the north/northwest in the evening hours, pushed smoke down into the Gibbonsville area. Crews remained on-site through the evening to monitor fire progression. Crews will continue to address the intense heat in this area to limit potential fire spread into unburned fuels. Helicopters helped keep the fire in check yesterday and will be available to assist ground crews with buckets drops, as needed. Crews removed excess water-handling equipment on the Highway 93 corridor. They left all pumps and hose intact in Gibbonsville. Heavy equipment continues to process and haul material on the western side of the fire. Crews continue to implement the suppression repair plan, in consultation with agency resource advisors. Other areas of heat (Nez Perce Creek, Salix Creek, and Gory Creek) remain active as large fuels continue to burn.

Smoke remains in the Teddy Creek area, as large fuels continue to smolder and burn out; no significant fire movement is expected under the current conditions. Firefighters finished backhauling excess water-handling equipment along the Pioneer Scenic Byway and heavy equipment finished the majority of the suppression repair work in the area. A small excavator will be used to finish any remaining work. Crews continue to implement suppression repair and monitor the large fuels smoldering in the interior of the fire.

The fire was active yesterday afternoon, resulting in an increase in approximately 150 acres. The fire progressed from Trident Peak into upper Bryant Creek; however, fire behavior is expected to lessen as the fire burns into a sheltered drainage area with a lack of fuel continuity and a high amount of young lodgepole pine.

Fire behavior was active yesterday, as relative humidity dipped into the single digits. Temperatures remained in the low 70s with mostly light west winds, switching to north/northwest winds in the evening. Overnight relative humidity recoveries dipped into the 30s, which may result in a longer burn period today.

Weather conditions are expected to be similar today.

In the afternoon hours, north/northwest winds could again result in areas of the Trail Creek Fire (ridge between Three Mile Creek and Smithy Creek and Nez Perce Creek area) backing down ridges with potential short-range spotting. The fire will continue to burn pockets of fuel, interior to the perimeter, in the Salix Creek area; this area is not expected to show significant spread.

Northern aspects south of Bryant Creek will also fill in unburned interior pockets, with crowning and short-range spotting likely if afternoon winds align. Sheltering and lack of fuel continuity will help slow the fire's spread.

Highway 43 and the Pioneer Scenic Byway are open to through traffic. Slow down and stay alert for firefighting equipment and vehicles, smoke, and downed trees. Motorists should also watch for bicyclists, hikers, and vehicles operating at slower speeds.

Portions of the Continental Divide Trail remain closed. The Big Hole National Battlefield is closed until further notice. May Creek Campground is closed.

Closure orders remain in effect. The Salmon-Challis National Forests modified their closure area for the Trail Creek Fire earlier this week. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest has modified their closure areas for all three fires, reducing the amount of Forest area closed to public access due to safety issues and firefighting operations. The Bureau of Land Management also reduced their closure area in association with the Alder Creek fire. Read the updated closure orders and view area maps on the respective agency websites and the fires' Inciweb pages.

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