The following is a news release from the Jefferson Ranger district in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.
Incident: This wildland fire started on 6/24/2012; cause is under investigation.
Location: Ten miles west of Pony, MT.
Jurisdiction: Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
Cooperating Agencies: BLM- Dillon Field Office, Montana DNRC, Madison County Commissioners & Sheriff Offices
Incident Commander: Rick Kusicko, Northern Rockies Type II Incident Management Team (IMT). The
Incident Command Post (ICP) is located at the Whitehall High School.
Current Size: 4,800 acres Containment: 60%
Structures Threatened: 80 residences including the Indiana University Field Station
Structures Lost: 2 residences; 5 outbuildings, including 1 bridge.
Status: The fire is burning in timber/grass fuels in the Tobacco Root Mountains. Steep, inaccessible terrain and a high snag density continue to hamper fire containment efforts. Residents in the Mammoth and South Boulder River area, south of the Indiana University Field Station are still evacuated.
Yesterday’s Activities: Firefighter containment lines were given a serious test as the red flag weather materialized shortly before noon. Even with gusty winds up to 30 miles per hour, firefighters were able to hold all containment lines from the South Boulder River near Indiana University Field Station on the north flank, as well as around the fire?s east and south perimeter
Fireline along the fire?s southwest flank (east of Mammoth) has been completed; however some fuel abatement and burnout operations are still necessary. Burnout operations were not attempted due to weather conditions. Fire managers also sought opportunities to burnout fuels along the South Boulder River road in an effort to contain the fire?s west flank.
Current Resources: Eight 20-person crews, sixteen engines, one dozer, two water tenders and six helicopters. Total personnel: 362.
Today’s Activities: Crews will continue strengthening containment lines on the north, east, and south flanks by putting out hotspots and mopping up. Crews continue to work on structure protection measures and fuel abatement along the South Boulder River and Mammoth community.
Weather and fuel conditions are expected to improve to a point that crews can resume burnout operations on the fire?s southwest flank and along the South Boulder River road. These measures will help secure containment lines east of the Mammoth community and those residences along the South Boulder River Road.
Restrictions/Closures: A „Closure Order? has been issued by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest prohibiting use of National Forest System roads and trails that access the Pony Fire area. This closure order is posted on www.inciweb.org for detailed information. In addition, a temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in effect surrounding the Pony Fire area.
On June 29, 2012, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions due to high fire danger and ongoing fire activity. The prohibitions relate to campfires and smoking on National Forest System lands in the area. However, the Pintler and Wisdom Ranger Districts along with the Lee Metcalf and Anaconda Pintler Wilderness areas are exempt from this order. View details at: http://fs.usda.gov/goto/bdnf/news
Special Announcements: Madison County Crimestoppers is requesting information regarding the cause of the Pony Fire. Please call 1-877-662-7631 (1-877-NOCRME1), you may remain anonymous and qualify for a reward.