By Roger Dey
Blackfoot Valley Dispatch 

Cooler weather dampens Trail 467 Fire; most closures lifted


August 22, 2018

A fuel break on the Trail 467 fire built last week

US Forest Service

Cooler weather and rain that moved into the Lincoln area over the weekend helped firefighters improve containment of the Trail 467 Fire, which was 90 percent contained at 23 acres Tuesday morning.

Progress on the fire allowed the Forest Service to re-open the section of Continental Divide Trail in the Granite Butte area Monday morning.

As mop up of the fire continues, a portion of the Helmville-Gould Trail west of the CDT remains closed to the public

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Supervisor Bill Avey rescinded most area and road closures Saturday, leaving only the CDT and Helmville-Gould trials off limits at that time, but cooler weather Sunday followed by much needed rain Monday, allowed firefighters to make more progress on the fire.

Since firefighting efforts continue on the fire. Forest Spokesperson Kathy Bushnell said they are advising CDT hikers to be on the lookout for heavy equipment that may still be operating in the area.

The improvement in the fire situation Saturday also allowed Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton to lift the pre-evacuation orders for residents in the McQuithy Gulch and Marsh Creek areas near Stemple Pass that evening.

The re-opening of the CDT caps off a busy week. Last Wednesday, following a day of moderate fire behavior, the fire grew active and jumped a fire line increasing in size from 20 to 23 acres. Air resources, including two large air tankers, four single engine air tankers and a helicopter helped to keep the fire's spread to a minimum.

Heavy equipment continued to remove hazard trees and build fuel breaks throughout the remainder of the week.

Warm temperatures and the chance for erratic winds and dry thunderstorms prompted a red flag warning Friday, but firefighters nevertheless kept the fire from growing or escaping the containment area.

The National Weather Service in Great Falls is predicting a return of warmer weather, with temperatures in the upper 70's Wednesday and Thursday before cooling with highs in the 60's again next weekend.

Last week firefighters also responded quickly to a small wildfire burning near a stand of dead timber in the Scapegoat Wilderness, near Bighorn Lake. The fire was quickly contained at less than an acre.

Lincoln volunteer firefighters responded to a report of a wildfire near the 4x4 Road Saturday, but Fire Chief Zach Muse didn't find an active fire after patrolling all day.


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