Posted: Jul 18, 2012 2:26 PM by Mark Thorsell - MTN News
Updated: Jul 18, 2012 2:30 PM
DARBY - Fire officials battling the Chrandal Creek Fire in the Bitterroot National Forest say they were once again helped by cooler temperatures and high relative humidity on Tuesday, which helped the fire remain at 1,800 acres.
The blaze, which is burning 42 miles south of Darby, is still just 15% contained.
Crews working on the northeastern perimeter of the fire made some more progress in setting up firelines while firefighters on the southwestern edge of the fire worked to put out spot fires. But officials say that they are still facing the challenge of working with poor access and difficult terrain.
Structure protection preparations have been completed for the residences in the Hughes Creek drainage and the Stage 1 Evacuation Notification remains in effect for residents above Chrandal Creek.
(photo courtesy inciweb.org)
While higher humidity and recent rains have reduced the fire to smoldering and creeping with some isolated torching, the weather is expected to become warmer and drier toward the end of the week with higher winds predicted on Friday. Fire officials add that as the blaze heads into stands of beetle killed timber, smoke will be visible.
There are now 333 fire personnel, including 10 20-person crews, three helicopters, three engines, two dozers and two water tenders assigned to battle the Chrandal Creek fire.
Officials have closed trails #184 and #106 (Divide Trail) and Mine Creek Road #5688. in the Bitterroot National Forest while Hughes Creek Road is closed to non-residents at the intersection with West Fork Road.
There are also several trails closed in the Salmon-Challis National Forest as the fire keeps burning on the Montana/Idaho border.