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New fire burning near Flesher Pass, public meeting planned

LINCOLN Aug, 2, 2019 - A fire that came to life Friday afternoon burned 40 to 50 acres a little less than two miles miles west of the top of Flesher Pass, near the Continental Divide Trail.

The Black Diamond Fire is the second in the Lincoln area, with the the Nevada Creek Fire, about three miles west of Granite Butte, is listed at about 80 acres Friday evening.

Lincoln. District Ranger Michale Stansberry has scheduled a public meeting on the fires for 5 p.m., Saturday afternoon at the Hooper Park Pavilion.

The Black Diamond Fire was first reported by the Stonewall Lookout as a singe burning tree, which prompted the Lincoln Ranger district to sent personnel who were in the area directly toward it. Lincoln Ranger District Fire management officer Jarel Kurtz said it had already grown, with group tree torching by the time the people reached the end of the nearest road.

"We immediately ordered a heavy helicopter and and two heavy air tankers," Kurtz said. The VLAT, or Very Large Air Tanker, also made an appearance. Kurtz said they were also able to mobilize for Hot Shot Crew to the fire. He said they rarely have those crews and air assets available on such short notice, but they were fortunate that resources freed up from the from North Hills Fire near Helena were freed up to come straight to the district.

The Nevada Creek Fire are also lent then a couple hot shot crews for the new fire as well.

Erratic winds from developing thunderstorms pushing it the fire, which quickly grew to about 20 acres, with a smoke plume visible from downtown Lincoln. The fire has closed the Continental divide trial south of Flesher Pass.

By about 5:30 p.m. Friday, the forehead grown to more than 40 cadres and thunderstorms in the area had grounded air operations and the fire was too intense for hand crews, but Kurtz said they were sawing a line in and are hoping to get a dozer in on the heel of the fire to get an anchor on it from which they can begin to flank it.

The Black Diamond fire makes the eighth fire the Lincoln Ranger District has dealt with in the 3 last three days. Of those, they got six under control right away.

Kurtz said they are using full suppression tactics on both the Nevada Creek and Black Diamond Fires, which both have heavy fuel loads.

"We're very interested using strategies and tactics that will be successful in this fuel model," he said.

While it plans for the Black Diamond Fire call for the use of dozers, the Nevada Creek Fire is inaccessible to heavy equipment but three hot shot crew are assigned to it.

Almas's Type 2 Incident Management Team, which had been assigned to the North Hills Fire, took control of the Nevada Creek Fire at 6 p.m. Friday evening.

The fire has closed National Forest lands south of Stemple Pass Road, west of McCellan Gulch and north of Forest Service Road 136 to the eastern boundary is the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.


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