West Mullan Fire Evening Update, July 22
Incident: West Mullan Fire Wildfire
West Mullan Fire
Date: Monday, July 22, 2013 Time: 8:00 p.m.
Incident: West Mullan Fire Information Phone: 406-649-9032
(7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.)
Location: northwest of Superior, Montana
Approximate Size: 6,090 acres Containment: 45%
Incident Commander: Tom Heintz
Resources: Hand Crews: (11) Type I crews; (13) Type II crews
Equipment: (43) Engines, (3) Dozers, (15) Water Tenders
Air Support: Helicopters (3) Type 1, (2) Type 2, (2) Type 3 Total Personnel: 914
Estimated Cost to Date: $6,500,000
Today firefighters worked to improve the fireline on the west and northwest flanks of the fire in the Keystone Creek area, and near the BPA powerline. Firefighters work in a grid pattern to locate and extinguish each individual hot spot they come across near the fireline. This work, known as mop-up, is critical to securing a ‘cold to the touch’ area near the fireline.
Active fire suppression efforts continued today in the northeast corner near Wood Gulch. Firefighters worked on ‘burnout operations’ to remove unburned fuel in this steep and difficult terrain. They progressed slowly to keep flames low and more manageable. Helicopters were used to drop water and retardant to keep the spread of fire to a minimum. This work will continue tomorrow.
Weather will continue to be hot and dry. The smoke will lift earlier tomorrow, allowing the fire area to heat up sooner. Winds may increase slightly in the afternoon which could increase fire activity. Some unburned islands within the fire perimeter may ignite causing additional visible smoke and flames.
A portable retardant plant has been set up at the Big Eddy fishing access site. This allows for rapid retardant support for helicopter operations.
The Incident Command Post was visited by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today. Governor Schwarzenegger addressed crews at today’s morning’s briefing and ate lunch with firefighters on the fireline. His film crew is following a hotshot crew this summer to work on a documentary focused on the effects of climate change in the west.
Area closures and evacuation orders are still in place. 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 Site, Keystone Gulch and Pardee Road remain closed. The Incident Commander and Sheriff are working cooperatively to develop a plan for the evacuees to return to their properties
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.