Elbow Pass Complex Update Sept. 19, 2012
Incident: Elbow Pass Fire Complex Wildfire
Fire Information - Elbow Pass Complex
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 1:00 PM
Corey Buhl - IC for Lewis and Clark NF
Jim Flint - IC for Flathead and Lolo NF
Acres: 23,445 acres as of 9/15/12 p.m. (16,964 Lewis and Clark NF, 5,510 Flathead NF, 971 Lolo NF)
Committed Resources: 1 helicopter
Total Personnel: 12-15
Contact: Wendy Clark (406) 466-5341 ext. 132
Because fire activity has remained relatively stable and fire growth has remained slow, we will continue to provide updates only every 3-5 days. If conditions such as fire activity, fire growth, or trail or closure areas change significantly, we will provide updates more frequently as needed. The next update is projected for on or about Monday, September 24 unless conditions change. Inciweb will be updated to reflect changing fire conditions and current area and trail closures. Maps will be posted on Inciweb and at fire information boards for the Elbow Pass Fire Complex. http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3066/
Elbow Pass Complex Fire Activity and Management
Fire activity has continued in the South Fork Sun River, Green Fork, and Rapid Creek drainages over the past week. Helicopter bucket work has continued in the South Fork Sun River to cool a spot fire high on Patrol Ridge. An additional small spot was detected on Patrol Ridge but was controlled by water drops. Although the Sky Crane helicopter has returned to Lincoln, MT, it remains available if needed for additional work. Meanwhile, the light helicopter assigned to the Elbow Pass Complex has continued to provide water drops as needed. Fire crews are in the Ellis Creek area of the South Fork Sun River today (Wednesday) to remove hoses and evaluate the potential need for hose and sprinkler setups there or elsewhere in the drainage to continue to limit the opportunity for fire to spread to the north. These crews will also measure fuel moistures and other indices of potential fire spread in that area. Patrol and Jumbo Lookouts remain staffed, providing monitoring and communications support.
Fire in the Green Fork drainage has continued to burn uphill into the Halfmoon area. The fire in this area has produced smoke visible well to the east of the National Forest boundary along the Rocky Mountain Front.
The fire has been fairly active in the Rapid Creek area on the Flathead NF for the past few days, with some group tree torching and short uphill runs. On the Lolo NF the fire has been slowly backing down below Flint Mountain in the upper Dry Fork drainage.
Weather Forecast and Fire Behavior Outlook
The forecast for northwest and north central Montana remains warm and dry. For at least the next week, we expect that high pressure will keep skies sunny, temperatures into the high 60s and low 70s in the fire area, and daytime humidities in the low teens. Winds are anticipated between 5 and 15 mph. No precipitation is forecast. These conditions mean that fire activity is likely to remain similar to what has been observed for the past week, with active burning in some areas where slope, aspect, and fuels align.
Although the National Forests managing the Bob Marshall, Great Bear, and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas have not yet implemented fire restrictions, fire danger is now rated as 'Very High' or 'Extreme' throughout much of the area. Despite longer nights and slightly cooler temperatures, conditions remain ripe for fires to start and spread quickly. Forest and Wilderness visitors should exercise extreme caution with fire when recreating on National Forest lands. Have water and a shovel available with any campfire, and be sure all fires are dead out before leaving the area. Do not toss cigarettes, coals, fire brands, etc. into vegetation, and be extremely careful regarding heat or sparks from chainsaws, wood or campstoves, etc.
Other Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness Fires
A number of fires are burning within the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas. The Prisoner Lake fire is burning in the White River drainage on the Flathead NF, across the Continental Divide from the upper West Fork Sun River drainage on the Lewis and Clark NF. Fire managers on the Flathead NF have been using a helicopter to drop water on the north end of the fire to keep it from spreading in the Molly Creek drainage.
The Wall Creek Fire is burning on the Flathead NF in the upper Wall Creek and upper Spotted Bear River drainages west of the Chinese Wall. This fire has been active in its interior in recent days, putting up smoke visible well to the east along the Rocky Mountain Front.
Additional fires in the wilderness include the Falls Point fire on the Lolo NF, and the East Fork fire on the Helena NF, both in the Scapegoat Wilderness. The Wedge Creek fire is burning on the Lolo NF immediately west of the Wilderness boundary.
Information on these and other fires is available on InciWeb or by calling the local District offices.
Closures : Trail and area closures associated with the Elbow Pass Complex remain unchanged since Sept. 8, 2012. New closures are in place for the Wall Creek fire on the Spotted Bear RD. The closure area for the East Fork fire on the Lincoln RD of the Helena RD was expanded on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Please see the InciWeb updates for these fires or contact the appropriate Ranger District offices for the latest information on trail and area closures.
For more information on these or other wildland fires, and related information visit http://www.inciweb.org/ or call:
Augusta Information Station (LCNF) 406-562-3247 Choteau District Office (LCNF) 406-466-5341
Seeley Lake Ranger District (LNF) 406-677-2233 Spotted Bear Ranger District (FNF) 406-758-5376
Lincoln Ranger District (HNF) 406-362-7000