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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Observation Fire: Winds A Concern Today

An observation crew observes the Observation fire from an observation point.

More than a hundred personnel were added to the Observation fire since yesterday. A total of 526 people are fighting the fire, including the crews of eight aircraft, 21 fire engines, 15 bulldozers and 7 water trucks. 

A Forest Service press release says the fire was most active yesterday near Hayes Creek and Camas Creek, (click here for a map) threatening the retardant line on the northeast side of the fire. Helicopters started dropping less water and more retardant. 

wildfire observation fire
Credit InciWeb
A Chinook helicopter lands at the helibase for the Observation fire.

  Today, the Forest Service says, "engines will be visible within the community, familiarizing themselves with roadways and structures to be ready for initial attack operations in support of rural fire departments."

The agency also says that today, "dependent on wind, a rappel crew will create a safety zone, spike camp and develop a helispot along the northwest flank of the fire. Air operations will continue to drop water and retardant on inaccessible terrain, including hot spots throughout the fire."

Forecasters are calling for lower temperatures than in the last few days, but dry, and winds are expected to be strong. 

Area closure is still in effect for the Lost Horse drainage from the junction of Lost Horse Creek Road and Lick Creek Road west to the Idaho-Montana border, including Twin Lakes, Schumaker Campground and Bear Creek Pass Trailhead, and from Lake Como north to Camas Creek. Lake Como is open. 

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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