4,000-Acre Bear Creek Fire Causes Closures
The Bear Creek Fire on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest grew from hundreds to thousands of acres in a little over a day. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management areas have been closed to the public due to fire danger and the heavy traffic of fire equipment in the Big Hole. The Incident Management Team reported Thursday morning that the blaze has extreme fire behavior with short crown runs and short-range spotting ahead of the main fire. The fire, about 30 miles east of Salmon, Idaho, has caused closure of the historic Lemhi Pass Road from Brenner Lane to the Idaho border. Trails from Lemhi Pass to Bannock Pass on the Continental Divide Tail are also closed. The Bureau of Land Management has closed their administered lands south of Lemhi Pass Road, west of US Highway 324 and east of the Continental Divide along the Montana stateline.
The public is advised to avoid the area due to heavy traffic of equipment going to and from the fireline. Ranchers in the area have been removing livestock, while firelines are being scouted to try to corral the blaze. Smoke is visible at Dillon, in the Big Hole Valley, in the Lemhi Valley and Salmon, Idaho.Crews number about 139 people, along with 8 helicopters and a number of engines. Air tankers are also available for the firefight.