West Mullan Fire Morning Update, July 22nd
Incident: West Mullan Fire Wildfire
Incident Management Team
West Mullan Fire
Date: Monday, July 22, 2013 Time: 8:00 a.m.
Incident: West Mullan Fire Information Phone: 406-649-9032
(7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.)
Location: West Mullan Fire extends for 9 miles northwest of Superior, Montana
Approximate Size: 6,169 acres Containment: 35%
Incident Commander: Tom Heintz
Resources: Hand Crews: (12) Type I crews; (13) Type II crews
Equipment: (43) Engines, (3) Dozers, (16) Water Tenders
Air Support: Helicopters (3) Type 1, (2) Type 2, (2) Type 3 Total Personnel: 925
Estimated Cost to Date: $5,800,000
Fire Update: Crews made excellent progress overnight working the line around much of the fire’s perimeter. Efforts focused on mopup along the line. That work will continue today as crews search for hotspots along the fire’s perimeter, both inside and outside the line. Suppression will occur in the northeast corner near Wood Gulch, although work is complicated because of difficult terrain and potential wind direction.
Weather will continue hot and dry. Winds may increase slightly in the afternoon which could increase fire activity. The effect of these weather conditions is continuing drying of fuels which increases the potential for rapid fire spread if any new starts occur outside of the perimeter.
Fire behavior is expected to be very active where unburned fuel remains with high temperatures and very low humidity. Concerns include short fire runs, rollouts and short range spotting. The fire is weather and topography driven and crews are working in very hot conditions on steep, dangerous terrain. Aggressive backing of the fire downslope could occur if the fire hits unburned fuel.
A portable retardant plant has been set up at the Big Eddy fishing access site. This allows for rapid retardant support to helicopter operations. Due to critical weather and the predicted fire activity, the public is encouraged to be vigilant especially near residences for rolling rocks, burning stumps, and other debris that may come off the mountain as fire progresses through the area.
Incident Command Post was visited by former California Governor Schwarzenegger during morning briefing. Governor Schwarzenegger is here as one of the executive producers of a documentary being produced for the Showtime Channel. His film crew is following a hotshot crew and working on a documentary on effects of climate change on fires in the west.
Area closures and evacuation orders are still in place for some areas. West Mullan Road is closed to the public west of Sunflower Lane. It is open to residents only. Flat Creek Road is closed outside the Superior city limits. East Mullan Road is open to everyone. Big Eddy Fishing Access remains closed.
Closures: Iron Mountain Trail 242 (known as Cascade Falls Trail) from above the falls to the junction with Forest Service Road 97 and National Forest System Trail 51(known as Ninemile Divide Trail). The Clark Fork River remains closed to the public from Big Eddy Fishing access to Sloway Campground. Vista Trail north of Superior is closed to public access.
New fire starts! Fully extinguish campfires and be cautious with combustion engines. Helicopter work continues in the area and the public is asked to stay clear of all aerial activities. About42 residences are now threatened by the fire; no structures have been damaged.
Visibility! Travel on area roads continues to be hazardous, especially in the mornings between Superior and St. Regis due to the inversion created by fire conditions. Watch for rollout material on roads below the burned area.