Wildfire Update - July 24, 2018

Contact(s): Tod McKay

What:  Reynolds Lake Fire update and new wilderness fire 

Location:  West Fork Ranger District

Summary:  The lightning-caused Reynolds Lake Fire burning on the border of the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis National Forest, on the edge of the Frank Church Wilderness did not grow in size yesterday and remains at 1,068 acres.  There are no structures threatened.  Forest Road #044 to the Reynolds Lake Trailhead is currently closed.  

Current Size:  1,068 acres.  The fire is 35% contained.

Resources on Fire:  There are 195 firefighters, including eight crews, two helicopters and four engines assigned to the fire which is being actively suppressed, under a full suppression strategy.  Helicopters are assisting with bucket work.  Retardant was not used on Monday.

Yesterday, firefighters contained and mopped-up hundreds of individual spot fires outside the main fire and finished constructing hand line around the perimeter.  Last night’s IR flight did not detect any additional spot fires outside the main fire.       

Planned Actions: Firefighters will work today to locate and contain any additional spot fires, secure all flanks, and mop-up at least 50-feet inside the perimeter.  Engines will patrol Forest Road #044 containing any spots, mopping up, and supporting hose lays.  There is water (pumps & fire hose) available to all divisions to help secure hand lines and assist with mop-up.  Aircraft will be utilized as needed to moderate fire behavior and spread.   

Demobing Resources:  One 20-person Hotshot crew and a helicopter have been released from the fire this afternoon to assist with the Rattlesnake Creek Fire burning in Idaho.  Two engines were also released this morning.  Additional resources will likely be released later this week as fire activity decreases and containment grows.     

Fire Behavior:  Mostly smoldering and creeping fire with minimal flame lengths.  Spot fires may become active as temperatures increase this afternoon.  Any unburned fuels within the interior of the fire will continue to burn out with torching and short runs.  Smoke from within the main fire area will be visible for at least the next week.             

Weather:  Warm and dry conditions are anticipated today, though there is a possibility that some moisture may make its way into the area late this afternoon and evening.  If this occurs, isolated showers/thunderstorms would develop with main threats being gusty winds and lightning.  There will likely be a noticeable decrease in visibility today due to smoke from central Idaho.    

New Fire:  A new lightning-caused fire was discovered today on the West Fork District in Idaho’s Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  The Mt. George fire is 1/10 acre and is located six miles east of Paradise Campground near Cooper Flat.  It was discovered by a fire lookout this morning following several lightning strikes in the area.  A helicopter was immediately dispatched and dropped buckets of water to try and suppress the fire.  It is not staffed at this time as it is burning in extremely steep and inaccessible terrain.  There are no structures threatened or closures due to the fire.  Fire managers will continue to monitor the fire closely for any additional activity.      

Fire Danger:  Fire Danger is currently “High” on the Bitterroot National Forest.  Fires can spread rapidly and quickly increase in intensity after ignition.  Small fires can become large fires and exhibit extreme fire behavior and unattended campfires are likely to escape.  These fires are difficult to control and often become longer-lasting fires.

Open burning is prohibited in Ravalli County due to increased fire risks.  Camp and cooking fires are still allowed.   

2018 Fire Season:  Firefighters have responded to 5 lightning wildfires and one human-caused fire this summer on the Bitterroot National Forest.     

Inciweb:  For the latest on the Reynolds Lake Fire visit Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5954/

Please note:  Drones are dangerous if flown near wildfires.  Drones can interfere with wildland fire air traffic that are necessary to suppress fires and could ground firefighting aircraft due to safety concerns.  Learn more at http://www.nifc.gov/drones.



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