Posted: Aug 31, 2012 10:25 AM by Jamie Leary - MTN News
WHITEHALL- Some evacuees from the 19 Mile Fire near Whitehall have been allowed back in their homes for critical needs.
The fire is a little over 4,000 acres and 2% contained nas air tankers and bucket drops hit the fire hard on Thursday.
Officials have confirmed that so far, a total of nine structures have been lost and say there could be more. They add that in addition to containment efforts, protecting homes is a top priority.
"Well the priorities for the team today are to make sure that we provide structure protection for all the houses within this Rader Creek zone as well as for the area over to the Whiskey Gulch area as well. There's a lot of unburned fuels within the interior of the perimeter as well so the fire fighters are also concerned about making sure those areas are tied up so that they don't provide any type of future ignition spots," public information officer Jack Conner said.
The fire is listed at 3,000 acres but overnight, the fire spread aggressively north and officials say it is now larger.
Type one helicopters and air tankers have been dropping water and retardant and the Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management team has been controlling operations since early this morning.
One of the main objectives for crews is to prevent the fire from moving further east. Officials say with the right conditions, it could reach the Interstate 90 corridor.