Still Smokin’ – Trail Creek and Alder Creek Forest Fires
Smoke was still evident this weekend at the Trail Creek and Alder Creek fires in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The main cause of the smoke has been "strategic firing" by crews to reduce fuels ahead of the fires and keep them in containment lines. The Trail Creek Fire is about 75% contained and the Alder Creek Fire is 45% contained.
According to the incident management team, two public meetings are scheduled this week to provide updates. The Trail Creek Fire meeting will be Tuesday, September 28, at 4:30 p.m. at the Gibbonsville Community Center in Gibbonsville, Idaho. The Alder Creek Fire meeting will be Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Wise River Community Center.
Forest Service officials noted cooler, wetter weather this week, but do not expect it to be a "season-ending" event. The fires are expected to continue for a while longer. At the 57,000-acre Trail Creek Fire, smoke was a problem in the Gibbonsville and US 93 corridor in Idaho. crews have been working on a fireline near Big Hole Pass and many areas of the fire are being mopped up, with most of the heat coming from stumps and downed logs. As a precaution, though, structure protection is still in place and Gibbonsville is still under a "Ready" evacuation level.
Meanwhile, the 39,000-acre Alder Creek Fire has been active on the northwest side of the blaze. A spot fire was reported toward Tucker Creek, but ground crews, assisted by helicopters, were able to get a line around it. Crews are removing hazard trees. There is still structure protection on the northeast side of the fire.
Highway 43 and the Pioneer Scenic Highway are open to traffic. However, the Big Hole National Battlefield remains closed and the May Creek and Steel Creek Campgrounds are closed, along with portions of the Continental Divide Trail.