Saddle Complex Fire Update (Friday) [Audio]
The Saddle Complex started out as two fires the Saddle Fire, which started on August 10, and the Stud Fire, which started on August 14. They initially flared up during an unexpected wind event on August 18, growing to about 500 acres. Another wind event on August 22 caused the fires to join and go on a 17,000 acre run during the afternoon, moving onto the Bitterroot National Forest. The fire is burning in continuous lodgepole pine and sub-alpine fire stands in steep terrain that has not been impacted by fire in over 100 years. The Saddle Complex Fire, south of Painted Rocks Reservoir, is now 22,097 acres. Of that, about 11,344 acres have burned on the Bitterroot National Forest. Stage 1 Evacuation Warnings are still in effect for homes south of Hughes Creek and Alta.
A Forest Service Firewise information wagon is located at Painted rocks Reservoir.With a "Red Flag" warning issued because of gusty wind, high tempatures and low humidity, the fire crews are watching the blaze closely. Crew safety is a main priority.
Firefighters have been removing trees and brush along roads in the Chicken Ridge area, and "heli-wells" have been set up for water-carrying helicopters.There is structure protection in Alta, Hughes Creek and the Cooper and Johnson areas.A large area of the forest around the fire is closed to the public south of Hughes Creek.
Public information Officer Jessie Bender has this update recorded on Friday 8/26/11
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