Red Shale Fire Update Aug.16, 2013
Incident: Red Shale Wildfire
Current Activities: Afternoon and evening flights conducted yesterday by fire personnel confirmed a small growth estimated at 25 acres for a total estimated 9,367 acres. Hot spots and fire activity continue with 60-70 acres burning on the north end, south west of Rabbit Butte and minimal smoke from Ray and Red Shale Creeks. The south end of the fire along mature timber appears out. Dry hot weather will continue with west winds 5-15 mph, and possible gusts to 30 mph. This is expected to increase fire activity and visible smoke on the north end. The Gates Park remote area weather station (RAW) reports night time relative humidities continue to recover at 84-92%. The Red Shale Fire remains as a Type 4 command.
Fire personnel at Gates Park and Beartop Lookout are monitoring current activities. The Type 3 helicopter is currently stationed at the Choteau Airport to assist fire personnel if needed. Two smoke monitors are in service to monitor this region: one at Ear Mountain and one in Augusta. Reports are available on-line; please go to www.inciweb.org/incident/3550 and “Related Incident Links.”
Management Actions: Evaluation and mitigation of potential risks to the public, fire personnel, and resources remains as the top priority. Heavy downfall, abundant hazardous snags and dense young lodgepole pine stands, along with remote location in the wilderness poses a challenge in ensuring safety zones and escape routes for fire personnel. A long term management plan identifying activities to slow progress and reduce intensity of the fire was completed on July 24. This plan will be routinely reviewed by District Fire Managers to ensure management actions are adequately addressing concerns identified in the plan.
Restrictions and Closures: For public safety, several trails are closed within the Sun River Game Preserve and along the Continental Divide Trail. All forest visitors travelling in the backcountry are urged to use caution and be observant of changes in weather and fire behavior. Trail closures are updated frequently: for the current detailed map, please visit inciweb.org
The following trails are closed in full length as of July 31: East Side Sun River #109, Rock Creek #111, Moose Ridge Lookout #125, Red Shale #130, Moonlight Peak #132, North Fork Lick Creek #151, Gates Creek #162, Ray Creek Cut-off #163, Ray Creek #164, and Gates Creek - Moose Creek #166. There are partial closures and restrictions on following trails: North Fork Sun River #110 from pack bridge north, Washboard Reef #117 from #108 to #110 junction, and North Fork Wall #174 is closed from Red Shale #130 north to Moonlight Peak #132. The Chinese Wall #175, north of Cliff Mountain, and My Lake #194 are open to travel, but there is no camping permitted.