Posted: Jul 3, 2012 10:26 AM by MTN News
Updated: Jul 3, 2012 10:26 AM
ASHLAND- Weather conditions are shaping up to test firefighters Tuesday in Southeast Montana as they continue to battle the Ash Creek Fire.
The fire has made a major run during the passage of a cold front that was being pushed by 35 mph to 45 mph winds, which lasted for nearly eight hours. The weather, combined with dry fuel, created very active fire behavior with major crown fires and long-range spotting.
The blaze has grown about seven miles to the east and eight miles to the south and is currently south of Highway 212, about a mile south of the North Fork of Threemile Creek, a mile west of Sonnette Road; on the north side of Highway 212 the fire is up to Elk Ridge, about a mile south of Stacey School.
Fire crews continued to mop-up and patrol the north, west and southwest flanks of the fire; however a majority of the suppression activity remains on the east, northeast and southeast portions of the fire.
Crews, with assistance from local resources, also continue to provide structure protection when necessary. Air support assisted firefighters throughout the day. Night operations will continue structure protection efforts and constructing indirect/direct fireline, as is safe to do so.
There is a Red Flag Warning for the fire area Tuesday with temperatures up in the low 100s, relative humidity levels between 5% and 15% and southerly winds at 10 mph to 20 mph in the forecast.
Ranches and residences remain threatened particularly in the Ashland/Broadus Divide near the leading edge of this fire. Highway 212 between Ashland and Broadus remains closed to fire activity and smoke. Please respect the fire restrictions in place by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and local Counties by ceasing fireworks and open fire use of any kind.
The Ashland Ranger District of the Custer National Forest is under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions and has initiated area closures due to fire activity on all National Forest System lands north of Highway 212. More detailed explanation of the restrictions and closures is available at the Custer National Forest website.