Posted: Jul 14, 2012 3:09 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News
Updated: Jul 14, 2012 3:09 PM
DARBY- Fire crews are hoping cooler, cloudy weather without more wind, will give them a chance to get more lines built on the Chrandal Creek Fire burning along the Bitterroot Divide.
The fire has now consumed about 1,700 acres of densely-packed lodgepole pine forest southwest of Darby since it was first started by a lightning strike sometime during the 4th of July week. The fire has made two sizeable runs this past week, driven by strong winds and hot, dry temperatures.
However, the change in the weather Friday couldn't have come at a better time. Authorities had put residents living along Hughes Creek under a Stage 1 Evacuation Alert and fire crews were bracing for another major run. However, the cooler temperatures and higher humidity made for minimal fire growth, outside of some "crowning" as the fire worked from treetop to treetop in the beetle-killed timber.
Fire crews have also been working to contain spot fires from spreading further into the Idaho side of the blaze. The fire is difficult because it's burning in rough terrain, with lots of snags and limited access.
Fire information boards have been set up at access points into that part of the West Fork of the Bitterroot drainage, and an area wide closure around the fire was implemented by the Bitterroot National Forest. Trails have also been closed on the Idaho side.