Trees were torching in the interior area of the Chrandal Creek Fire on the Idaho-Montana border on the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis National Forests this week. The fire was last estimated at two thousand acres and was 30 percent contained as of Friday morning.
The fire was started by a lightning strike July 6 about 32 air miles south of Darby, Montana. It has been most active on the northern flank where crews were assisted by helicopters using buckets to drop water on hot spots. The eastern edge of the fire was not staffed because of steep terrain and unsafe operating conditions. 334 fire personnel, including nine 20-person crews, three helicopters, three engines, two dozers, and three water tenders are assigned to the fire.
A Stage 1 evacuation notification remains in effect for residents in the upper Hughes Creek, Montana area. 37 structures are threatened in that drainage. People have been notified they may have to evacuate if a fire threat becomes imminent.
Several area closures have been ordered. They include:
Bitterroot National Forest: An area closure around the fire was put into effect on July 13 due to active wildfire conditions. The closure includes Trails #184 and #106 (Divide Trail) and Mine Creek Road #5688. The Hughes Creek Road in Montana is closed to non-residents at the intersection with Highway 473 (West Fork Road).
Salmon-Challis National Forest: Sections of the following trails are closed: #106, #141, #110, #105, #213, #142. These trails access the ridgeline trail dividing Idaho and Montana, near the active fire.
Air quality monitors are in use at the Painted Rocks Fire Department and North Fork Ranger Station. Current air quality information for the area can be found at www.satguard.com/usfs/fleet.aspx or http://www.satguard.com/usfs/fleet.aspx