UPDATE: Thursday evening from the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest Butte Ranger District
The McClusky fire, currently estimated to be 2,887 acres, actively burned yesterday afternoon with group torching, spotting, and flanking due to low relative humidity and high winds. The fire spread was to the northeast. This morning Shane Martin took over as incident commander.
Fire managers continue to monitor weather and changes in fire activity with the continued above normal temperatures and low relative humidity’s before anticipated wetting rains enter the area on Friday. Smoke was visible again today from multiple locations and communities. Standing snags and those hung-up or suspended in adjacent snags pose an excessive safety risk to firefighters.
Today, fire crews worked to protect private inholdings and continued to build and secure indirect line utilizing old road, trail systems, and natural barriers, providing a location where firefighters can safely engage the fire with a high probability of success. Fire crews also conducted a few small burnout operations and crews will work overnight to secure additional sections of indirect line.
Wetting rains are expected to slow the fire’s progression throughout the weekend. Fire managers will continue to monitor the fire’s activity and spread following the potential for isolated thunderstorms overnight and fire crews will continue to be available to implement suppression actions.
The fire is currently reported at 51% complete. Containment is a percentage that represents fireline built directly on the fire’s perimeter. Containment is considered in the percentage of completion. Currently the fire is 0% contained, but 51% of indirect suppression actions have been completed.
The lightning caused McClusky fire, located three miles northeast of Delmoe Lake and 13 miles northwest of Whitehall was reported on August 16. A total of 88 personnel are assigned to the fire, including, two Type 1 Hotshot crews, eight engines, 1 helicopter, 2 water tenders, and miscellaneous overhead and support.
Fire Weather Forecast: Today was the last hot and mostly dry day across the region before a change to cooler and wetter conditions returns Friday. There will be a small chance for isolated thunderstorms this evening across the Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF. On Friday, the high will be near 76 with an 80% chance of precipitation, new rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch. Friday night showers are likely and possibly a thunderstorm. On Saturday, there will patchy fog in the morning, transitioning to mostly sunny skies with a high near 76.
Closures: This closure is for public safety due to wildland fire suppression operations associated with the McClusky fire. Beginning in T2N, R5W, section 28, Forest Development Road (FDR) 173 (Whitetail Road), continuing northward for approximately 3 miles to the junction of trail 7093 in T3N, R5W, section