Posted: Jul 22, 2013 8:11 PM by MTN News
Updated: Jul 22, 2013 8:11 PM
The Red Shale Fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness has burned about 710 acres as of Monday, July 22nd.
The fire, which was spotted on July 18, was sparked by a lightning storm on July 17.
The fire is burning in upper Red Shale Creek, west of the North Fork Sun River, a little more than two miles WNW of the Gates Park area in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
District fire managers flew over the area on July 21, and estimated the fire to be about 710 acres.
It is burning within the 1988 Gates Park Fire area, in heavy downed and standing dead timber and pockets of thickly regenerating lodgepole pine.
Fire officials say that the area is remote and difficult to access.
Six firefighters are stationed at the Gates Park cabin to initiate structure protection at the Gates Park administrative site and Gates Park pack bridge.
Fire personnel are currently evaluating potential risks to the public, to fire management personnel, and to resources, along with the potential fire behavior and spread, and are developing a long-term plan for managing the fire.
Risks to firefighters are significant, with no safety zones or escape routes due to the heavy downfall, abundant hazardous snags, and dense young lodgepole pine.
The fire has the potential to clear some of the 2-to-3 foot high downfall and open up the thick regrowth of lodgepole pine saplings that has blanketed the area following the 1988 fire.
The North Fork Red Shale Trail #130 was closed on Sunday, July 21 for public safety.
Forest visitors travelling in the area are urged to use caution and be observant to changes in weather and fire behavior.
There are no fire restrictions in effect at this time.
Forest visitors are urged to be extremely careful with fire, and to make sure that all campfires are dead out before departing the area.
Photos above are courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.