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Sapphire Complex fire grows to 28,600 acres - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Sapphire Complex fire grows to 28,600 acres

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The Sapphire Complex fire is burning in the Rock Creek drainage southeast of Missoula. (inciweb.org photo) The Sapphire Complex fire is burning in the Rock Creek drainage southeast of Missoula. (inciweb.org photo)
Evacuation and pre-evacuation notices remain in effect near the Sapphire Complex fire. (inciweb.org photo) Evacuation and pre-evacuation notices remain in effect near the Sapphire Complex fire. (inciweb.org photo)
ROCK CREEK -

The Sapphire Complex fire burning in the Rock Creek drainage area in Granite County has now burned over 28,600 acres.

Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place from Hogback Homestead south to Stony Creek and the Sliderock Mountain area while pre-evacuation orders are still in place for the northern portion of Rock Creek drainage and the Upper Willow Creek drainage areas.

Private property and structures in the Rock Creek and Upper Willow Creek drainage remain threatened as does a Bonneville Power Administration powerline and a communication site.

While Rock Creek Road from I-90 south to Harry’s Flat is open to traffic, Upper Willow Creek Road remains closed to the public.

There are 628 people assigned to battle the lightning sparked blaze.


Little Hogback Fire: 19,705 acres, 7% contained.

Yesterday, crews utilized a helicopter for aerial ignition to remove unburned fuels between the fire and eastern containment line. Structure assessment and protection work continued along upper Willow Creek and southern Rock Creek corridors. Additional resources have been assigned to a night shift for patrolling and holding in these areas. Crews will work to extend indirect dozer line westward from Ram Mountain and improve a hand line along Sheep Ridge today. Aerial resources will support line construction and reinforcement work as flight visibility conditions allow.

Goat Creek Fire: 8,056 acres, 75% contained.

Yesterday, a small firing operation was conducted near Golden Mountain to improve and add depth to existing containment lines. Helicopter water drops were used to assist in this work. Heavy equipment resources are being utilized to skid and deck timber from indirect line construction on the east side of the fire. Patrol and monitoring efforts will be conducted in the lower Rock Creek and Brewster Creek areas today.

Sliderock Fire: 864 acres, 30% contained.

Fire resources scouted new containment line locations today, and a Type II initial attack crew will begin line construction. Today, the fire will be monitored and patrolled and aircraft will be utilized to hold existing lines.

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