19mile Fire Update-8/31-0830 (mdt)
Incident: 19 Mile Wildfire
Issue date: August 31, 2012 Start Date: August 28, 2012
Temporary Contacts: Mariah Leuschen at 548-1174 or Jack Conner at 698-0501
Cause: Unconfirmed, under investigation
Location: West of Whitehall and east of Butte, north of Hwy 2 and south of I-90
Current Size: 4,006 acres Containment: 2%
Resources Assigned: 4-20 person crew, 11 engines, 2 helicopters, 2 airtankers. Additional resources requested.
Closures: BLM has closed OHV trail/connector routes #24, 25, 26 from Whiskey Gulch Trailhead to a point just north of I-90, located T2N R6W, sections 23-26 and 35. The Forest Service has closed Rader Creek/Moose Creek Road #240 from Homestake Pass T2N R7W, Section 13 to Highway 2, T1N R6W Section 16. Fire officials are asking the public to avoid using Highway 2 between Butte and Whitehall to provide for the safety of firefighters and the public. Recreationists expecting to ride in the Pipestone OHV area north of I-90 over Labor Day weekend are asked to make alternative plans in case of a closure due to fire activity.
Current Status: Crews constructed handline along the southeastern edge of the fire while engines continued to provide structure point protection. The eastern perimeter of the fire moved into the open grassy areas where it was easier to hold. The northern perimeter of the fire was scouted for future protection efforts. Most of the fire activity yesterday occurred along and within the northwest perimeter, where the fire burned down toward Upper Radar Creek. Active burning also occurred in unburned green island pockets within the interior. The fire continued to burn actively Thursday but without any significant runs. The high winds that were expected did not occur allowing firefighters to make progress on suppression efforts.
Jefferson County Sherriff's Office has a standing evacuation order for the Lower Rader Creek and Toll Mountain areas. Whiskey Gulch residents have been notified that they may need to leave depending on fire activity.
Planned Actions: Fire personnel will continue to protect structures as first priority, secure the areas surrounding the remaining structures, scout and construct fireline through all divisions. Resources are limited, but as additional incoming resources arrive they will be assigned and begin constructing fireline and securing the fire's perimeter.
Community Meeting: Beginning Friday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. a Community meeting will be held in the Whitehall Community Center, 11 N. Division St. All landowners, evacuees and interested individuals are invited to attend. The meetings will be broadcast live from the local cable network channel 49.1.
Weather: Partly cloudy conditions will become mostly cloudy with a chance of dry thunderstorms later this afternoon. Frequent lightning and gusty winds are possible. Winds are expected to be light this morning at 2-4 mph switching to the south 5-7 mph gusting to 30 mph, with gusty and erratic winds surrounding thunder cells. Temperatures expected: 85-90; relative humidity of 15-20%, spotting ahead of the fire can be expected up to a ½ mile.
Remarks: Additional structures have been confirmed lost. It is confirmed 2 primary residences and 7 additional structures. The team is working closely with local officials to determine additional structure losses, the type, location and notification. Evacuees that have a need to return to their property for a short time are asked to make escort arrangements through a public information officer who will be at the Whitehall Ambulance Barn. Law enforcement escorts will only be available beginning at 7:30 a.m. with mandatory completion at 10:30 a.m. These escorts depend on fire activity.
Cooperating Agencies: Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Butte BLM, Jefferson County, local and rural volunteer fire departments, MT DNRC.
The fire is listed on Inciweb: http://www.inciweb.org/