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Updates on Alder Creek, Christensen, Trail Creek, and Black Mountain fires (August 2)

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Posted at 1:55 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 18:02:44-04

The Southwest Incident Management Team provided an update Monday for four fires burning in Beaverhead County: the Alder Creek Fire, Christensen Fire, Trail Creek Fire, and Black Mountain Fire.

Alder Creek Fire

  • Size: 10,624 acres; Containment: 10%; Location: 7 miles west of Wise River, MT; Start Date: July 8, 2021; Cause: Unknown
  • As the Alder Creek and Christensen fires continue to grow toward each other, crews work to complete indirect fireline from the northeast corner of the fire's edge to the Christiansen Creek/Hwy 43 intersection. Engines will chip materials along Forest Road 73, maintain and exercise structure protection systems in the area, and enhance plans for primary, alternate, and contingency control lines and features.

Christensen Fire

  • Size: 7,912 acres; Containment: 0%; Location: 12 miles west of Wise River, MT; Start Date: July 16, 2021; Cause: Unknown
  • Crews continue preparation of indirect fire line both by hand and with heavy equipment, complete chipping operations along Forest Road 73, and identify primary, alternate and contingency lines for suppression efforts. Dozers are making progress around the fire, however productivity may slow due to storms over the fire area today.
  • The Beaverhead County Sheriff's Office issued a Stage 1 evacuation order, effective until further notice, for the following areas: Highway 43 from Mile Marker 35 to the County Line at Mile Marker 41.5. This includes the residents on Doolittle Creek Road and North Doolittle Creek Road.

Trail Creek Fire

  • Size: 35,111 acres; Containment: 0%; Location: 20 miles west of Wisdom, MT; Start Date: July 8, 2021; Cause: lightning
  • Scattered rain fell within the fire area on Sunday creating a hazardous work environment for fire personnel and causing work to slow. On Monday, crews will complete dozer line prep on the southeast end, continue road work and insert a third Timber Taskforce along the northwest perimeter. The Structure Group will prep the west side of Highway 93.

Black Mountain Fire

  • Size: 1,038 acres; Containment: 0%; Location: 13 miles south of Jackson, MT; Start Date: July 17, 2021; Cause: lightning
  • Crews will patrol the fire perimeter to address potential hotspots, strengthen and improve line, complete accountable property tracking, and identify needs for chipping operations. Firefighters continue to improve the Selway Creek Road to the east as well as prep the Snowshoe Hare Road with hand tools and heavy equipment such as masticators.

All four fires received moisture from storms over the area on Sunday. Temperatures will remain in the mid-70s with a relative humidity of 40-50 percent. Thunderstorm activity is expected, along with a flash flood warning from Monday afternoon through Monday night.

Highway 43 and the Pioneer Byway remain open. Motorists are asked to slow down and be on the alert for firefighters, heavy smoke, and downed trees. Check the Montana DOT Road Report website for current conditions.

The Continental Divide Trail is closed from Lemhi Pass north to Mussigbrod Creek.

The Big Hole National Battlefield also remains closed until further notice, as do the North and South Van Houten, Miner Lakes, Twin Lakes, May Creek, and Divide Bridge Campgrounds.

Forest Closure orders are in effect for both the Beaverhead-Deerlodge and Salmon-Challis National Forests.