Mustang Complex Update Wednesday, September 12
Incident: Mustang Complex Wildfire
The Indian Creek Community Evacuation Level 3 was lowered to an Evacuation Level 2 at 7:30 a.m. today. A news release on this revision can be found on Inciweb (http://inciweb.org/). The Highway 93 corridor remains under an Evacuation Level 3 from North Fork Fire Station to Quartz Creek just north of Gibbonsville. The evacuation map, which includes six safety zones along the highway and shelter information, can also be found on Inciweb. The Idaho National Guard continues to assist the National Forests by staffing traffic control points around the fire. Travel along Highway 93 may be slowed at times where firefighters are conducting roadside burnout operations.
The fire grew 4,434 acres yesterday to an estimated total acreage of 294,408 acres. This growth primarily occurred as a direct result of burnout operations along the Highway 93 corridor and eastern end of Salmon River Road from Sage Creek east to the Highway 93 corridor. Both ground and aerial ignitions were successfully conducted yesterday. In the Hull and Hughes Creek drainages, a slow backing fire continued to work towards Highway 93. The calmer weather forecasted may allow firefighters to use a direct attack approach in these residential communities. With roadside burnout operations continuing today, fire managers appreciate the cooperation of the public to avoid unnecessary travel along Highway 93. Firefighter personnel and equipment will be staged roadside and in adjacent neighborhoods. South of Hughes Creek, Montana, the fire is slowly advancing as a ground fire north and east of the Johnson Creek drainage. Firefighters are creating a fuel break by improving existing trails and roads on Thunder Mountain and tying it into this summer's Chrandal Fire on the southeast and to Highway 473 (West Fork Road) on the northeast. At Gattin Ranch, firefighters are mopping up after the fire passed through the area and crews conducted burnout operations on Monday. In the Mine Creek area south of Hughes Creek, Montana, firefighters are patrolling and maintaining structure protection. All residential structures remain intact and undamaged. On the southern and western fire perimeters, the growth and spread was light, primarily due to the changing weather conditions and light winds.
Contingency work to homes and businesses is being maintained along the Highway 93 corridor from North Fork to Lost Trail Pass and Hughes Creek, Montana. Contingency work crews remain available to assist with fire suppression should the need arise.
Today will be mostly sunny with light winds, slightly warmer temperatures, and lower relative humidities. We are now in a very stable air mass for the remainder of the work week. Today's relative humidities will be in the teens and possibly the single digits by later this afternoon; however with a Haines Index of 4 and moderately stable atmosphere above, we do not expect rapid fire growth and spread. Evening temperatures plummeted into the teens in the higher elevations last night and relative humidity levels recovered to over 50 percent. These nighttime conditions are very favorable for cooling and moistening the available fuels in the forest, thus seasonal changes are beginning to occur.