Chrandal Creek Fire Update - 7/30/2012

Release Date: Jul 30, 2012  

Contact(s): Tod McKay 406-363-7122


FIRE NAME:  Chrandal Creek

DATE OF DETECTION:  July 6, 2012      CAUSE:  Lightning

CURRENT SIZE:  2,500 acres                    CONTAINMENT:  75% (expected containment August 3, 2012)

LOCATION:   42 miles south of Darby, MT (32 air miles)

AGENCY:  U.S. Forest Service – Bitterroot National Forest (MT) & Salmon-Challis National Forest (ID)

YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITY: Sunday (July 29) was a quiet weather day with temperatures in the 80’s over the fire, relative humidity in the teens, and light winds out of the southwest.  Crews continued to strengthen the fireline and lay hose on the northwest side of the fire in the headwaters of Chrandal Creek and western side of the fire.  The north, east, and south sides of the fire remain largely contained.  Crews in these areas focused on locating and suppressing hot spots further in from the fire’s edge.  The structure protection group continued to remove equipment around residences in the Hughes Creek, MT drainage, as the fire threat has been reduced. The thirty-seven structures in this drainage are no longer listed as threatened.

TODAY’S WEATHER AND PLANNED ACTIVITY:  Temperatures on Monday (July 30) are expected to be in the 80’s, relative humidity in the low 20’s and light winds out of the southwest.  No spread is expected on the fire, but there could be isolated interior torching of trees in areas that are unburned and smoldering near the fire’s edge. The focus of today’s efforts will be for hotshot crews to use hose lays to wet the perimeter on the west side of the fire. Elsewhere along the perimeter, crews will continue to monitor the perimeter and suppress any remaining heat near the fireline and around interior unburned, green areas.  Tuesday (July 31) at 6:00 a.m., Shawn Pearson’s Type 2 Incident Management Team will transfer command to Rod Weeks’ North Idaho Type 3 Incident Management Team.  Approximately 80 personnel will continue to work on the fire.  The fire camp along Coal Creek road will be removed, and incident operations will be based out of the West Fork Ranger District office.  The Stage 1 Evacuation Notification has been lifted for residents in the upper Hughes Creek, MT area (above Chrandal Creek).

PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE:  316 fire personnel, including nine 20-person crews, four helicopters, and two engines.   

SPECIAL CONCERNS:  The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain with standing dead timber, thus posing a safety risk to firefighters and a challenge for building fire line.


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.

For more detailed and updated fire and closure information, visit


This will be the last daily fact sheet unless significant activity occurs.  For periodic updates visit

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