Smoke was still evident this weekend during the Trail Creek and Alder Creek fires in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The main cause of the smoke was “strategic fire” by crews to reduce fuels before the fires and keep them in containment lines. The Trail Creek Fire is approximately 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 held on Tuesday, September 28 at 4:30 p.m. at the Gibbonsville Community Center in Gibbonsville, Idaho. The Alder Creek Fire meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Wise River Community Center.
Forest Service officials have noted cooler and wetter weather this week, but don’t expect it to be an “end of season” event. The fires are expected to continue for a little while. 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 line of fire near Big Hole Pass and many areas of the blaze are being cleared, most of the heat coming from stumps and downed logs. As a precaution, however, the structure protection is still in place and Gibbonsville is still under a “Ready” evacuation level.
Meanwhile, the 39,000-acre Alder Creek Fire was active on the northwest side of the blaze. A point fire was reported in the direction of Tucker Creek, but the ground crews, assisted by helicopters, managed to bypass it. Teams remove dangerous 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, Big Hole National Battlefield remains closed, and May Creek and Steel Creek Campgrounds are closed, along with portions of the Continental Divide Trail.