Posted: Jul 20, 2012 7:30 AM by Mark Thorsell - KPAX News
Updated: Jul 20, 2012 4:33 PM
DARBY- The number of acres burned by Chrandal Creek fire in the Bitterroot National Forest has been upped from 1,800 acres to 2,000 acres and is still 30 percent contained. Fire officials say 200 acres were added to the total of the blaze after mapping of the blaze, which is burning about 40 miles south of Darby, the total acreage of the fire was increased.
Firefighters say they saw some torching of trees inside the fire perimeter on Thursday and add that the blaze was most active on the northern flank where crews were assisted by helicopters using buckets to drop water on hot spots.
Meanwhile, suppression work on the western, northern, and southern flanks slowed or curtailed fire growth in challenging sections of the fire according to a news release, but the eastern edge of the fire remained unstaffed due to steep terrain and lack of safe operating conditions for firefighters.
Crews are bracing for unstable weather over the fire on Friday with thunderstorms are likely in the early morning and again in the afternoon. Isolated showers could bring as much as ¼ inch of rain, but fire activity may increase with the gusty winds expected as each storm front passes through the area.
A structure protection plan remains in place for the residences in the Hughes Creek drainage where a Stage 1 Evacuation Notification remains in effect for residents living above Chrandal Creek.
There are 334 fire personnel, including nine 20-person crews, three helicopters, three engines, two dozers and three water tenders fighting the lightning-sparked blaze, which was first seen on July 6.
Several trails are closed in the Bitterroot National Forest including trails #184 and #106 (Divide Trail) and Mine Creek Road #5688. Hughes Creek Road is also closed to non-residents at the intersection with West Fork Road.