ELMO - The Niarada Fire 12 miles west of Elmo is holding at 20,365 acres with containment growing from 25% to 39% as of Thursday morning.
A community meeting to discuss the Big Knife, Niarada, and Mill Pocket fires on Thursday, Aug. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Arlee Community Center. The meeting will be broadcast live on the CSKT Division of Fire Facebook page.
Fire managers report light rain fell over much of the Niarada and Mill Pocket fire areas on Wednesday. However, much of the moisture is not penetrating heavy timber canopies. The cooler, wetter weather allowed firefighters to build more direct handline than was possible a few days ago.
Crews continue mopping up along Cromwell Creek Road. Heavy fuels and steep terrain continue hampering efforts along the fire's eastern and southeastern edge. Firefighters will likely need to perform firing operations when conditions are conducive to secure portions of the indirect line in that area, according to the Thursday update.
Structure protection crews continue to work outside Elmo towards Big Arm, and a night shift helps keep watch over changing conditions and fire behavior.
A type 1 helicopter conducting water drops cooled hot spots still smoldering in treacherous scree along the Mill Pocket Fire's northwestern edge. At the same time, firefighters on the ground are patrolling and mopping up the remaining fire perimeter.
A pre-evacuation warning remains in effect for an area that includes Alexander Road, Early Dawn Road, Spring Lane Road, Walking Horse Lane, Windward Heights Road, Wildhorse View, Buffalo Bridge Road, Saddle Drive, Island Butte Lane, Bridle Path, Ten Deuce Way, Cliffview Drive, and Ricketts Road.
A pre-evacuation warning means there is still a potential threat from the blaze. People are asked not to bring back evacuated livestock until the area is downgraded to ready status.
Drivers are urged to use caution when driving on Montana Highway 28 as firefighters and equipment are still working in the area.
There are 367 people assigned to the blazes which were sparked by lightning on July 30, 2023.
Watch the Aug. 10, 2023, fire briefing below.