Fire Update: August 7, 2018
Fire Danger Level for the Dillon Dispatch Center Zone is High
Virginia Creek Fire
Madison Ranger District
The lightning caused Virginia Creek fire detected on August 2 at approximately 12:45 p.m. is currently 67 acres in size and is burning in heavy concentrations of mixed conifer (sub-alpine fir, Engleman Spruce, lodgepole pine) fuels with very heavy concentrations of standing dead trees and logs on the ground and is 15% contained.
Resources from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, MT DNRC, and the Madison Valley Volunteer Fire Department working on this fire are: 47 personnel including: 4 Engines; 2 Water Tenders; 1 Helicopter; and one 26 person hand crew. The fire is located approximately five miles west of McAllister, in the Virginia Creek drainage.
Fire personnel are working to keep the fire from advancing past the Meadow Creek and Virginia Creek roads and from burning over the ridgeline above the fire on the southeast side. By this afternoon, firefighters will have a hose lay around the perimeter of the fire and will continue mopping up the edges of the fire for any hotspots.
Virginia Creek Road #1249 and trail #6314 have been closed in order to provide for the safety of firefighting personnel and public. Smoke will be very visible from Norris Hill south to Ennis for the next few days to come.
Dillon Ranger District
The lightning caused Goldstone fire, detected August 2, is approximately 125 acres. The fire is burning in a high elevation basin near Goldstone Pass. It is 0% contained and is located approximately five miles west of Reservoir Lake near Goldstone Pass in the Bitterroot Mountains, near the Montana and Idaho state border. The fire is located in steep mountainous terrain and is burning in heavy mixed conifer fuels (sub-alpine fir, Engleman Spruce, lodgepole pine) with very heavy concentrations of standing dead trees (snags). Firefighting personnel from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest are constructing hand line at the head of the fire tying into the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and a timber task force of heavy equipment is working to construct a fuel break along Forest Road #7402.
Due to this active fire, there is an area closure (Order #2018-D1-008) south of Forest Road #7327, east of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, north of the ridgeline between Eunice Creek and Park Creek, and west of Forest Road #7402. Forest Road #7402 and Trail #1144 are closed. Forest Road #7327 and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail currently remain open with an optional reroute for hikers. For more information of the reroute contact the Dillon Ranger District (406) 689-3900.
Fire Weather Forecast: A strong ridge of high pressure will continue to strengthen over the Northern Rockies all week. This will bring a prolonged period of hot temperatures (10 to 15 degrees above normal), and very dry conditions. We could be looking at widespread Haines 5 or 6 by the end of the week. We are still watching for the ridge to breakdown Friday and Saturday with the passage of a dry cold front. Gusty southwesterly winds will be likely as the front moves through the region. Most will remain dry over the weekend, though a few isolated showers and/or thunderstorms will be possible Saturday and Sunday in far northwestern Montana along the Canadian border. For up to date fire weather forecasts for southwest Montana, go online to https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/fire2/?zone=MTZ110&zonelist=Go&wfo=mso&interface=fwzones.
Prevention: During this time of high fire danger, people are reminded to be careful with all fires; be sure to extinguish campfires completely and to keep motorized vehicles on roads and trails.
Fire restrictions are not in effect on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, however, people are encouraged to keep informed of other area restrictions by going online to https://firerestrictions.us.
Fire Activity and Smoke: Currently, there are 62 uncontained large fires in the nation, which are filtering smoke into the valleys of Montana. You can find information about these fires on Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov. Further information on smoke can be found from the MT Department of Environmental Quality’s web page at http://bit.ly/wildfiresmokereport.
Preparedness Level: The nation is currently at a Planning Level Five (PL5). PL5 indicates that there is large fire activity occurring in multiple geographic areas and a heavy commitment of crews, aircraft, and equipment to these incidents, along with a forecast for continued hot, dry, windy conditions. During PL5, as fires grow and additional resources are needed, it can take longer for resources to be assigned to a fire due to the limited number of available. The Northern Rockies Geographic Area (MT, Northern ID, and North Dakota) and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is at a Planning Level Three (PL3). PL3 indicates mobilization of resources nationally is required to sustain incident management operations in active Geographic Areas (GA's).