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Crews make progress on West Mullan Fire

Published On: Jul 23 2013 08:32:55 AM MDT
Updated On: Jul 23 2013 10:16:28 PM MDT

TAKEN FROM 2 MILES EAST OF SUPERIOR ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT, JULY 17

MISSOULA, Mont. -

Tuesday officials determined the West Mullan Fire outside Superior was human-caused. The exact nature of the blaze is still under investigation.

Authorities were able to determine it was human-caused because there was no lighning in the area.

The fire has now burned about 6,300 acres. Fire officials say they have it about 60-percent contained after strengthening lines and working on burn-out operations.

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Here's the latest update from Incident Commander Tom Heintz:

Resources: Hand Crews: (9) Type I crews; (13) Type II crews
Equipment: (43) Engines, (3) Dozers, (15) Water Tenders
Air Support: Helicopters (2) Type 1, (1) Type 2, (1) Type 3 Total Personnel: 821
Estimated Cost to Date: $7,200,000

Fire Update:

Today was an excellent day for firefighters. Lines were strengthened along the entire perimeter of the fire and in the northeast area, near Wood Gulch, burn-out operations are nearly completed. Unburned interior islands were seen to have five to 15 foot flame lengths with single tree torching.

Tomorrow crews are scheduled to implement burning operations to secure the line along the northeast flank. Mop-up, patrol, structure protection, and monitoring of the fire continues on the remainder of the fire perimeter.

Fire managers are planning for the release of resources in excess to the needs of firefighting efforts, as well as backhaul of unnecessary equipment.

Firefighters have achieved an exceptional safety record on this fire, with only one minor injury to- date.

Area closures and evacuation orders are still in place. West Mullan Road is closed to the public at the western end. It is open to residents only. Flat Creek Road is closed outside the Superior city limits. East Mullan Road is open to everyone. Big Eddy Fishing Access Site, Keystone Gulch and Pardee Road remain closed.

Closures:

Iron Mountain Trail 242 (known as Cascade Falls Trail) from above the falls to the junction with Forest Service Road 97 and National Forest System Trail 51(known as Ninemile Divide Trail). The Clark Fork River remains closed to the public from Big Eddy Fishing access to Sloway Campground. Vista Trail north of Superior is closed to public access.

Special Concerns:

New fire starts! Please stay vigilant to ensure there will be no new fire starts. Fully extinguish campfires and be cautious with combustion engines. The local area has gone into Extreme fire danger. Helicopter work continues in the area and the public is asked to stay clear of all aerial activities. No structures have been damaged to-date.
Visibility! Travel on area roads continues to be hazardous, especially in the mornings between Superior and St. Regis due to the inversion created by fire conditions. Watch for rollout material on roads below the burned area.

More Information: Visit Inciweb at www.inciweb.org, email westmullanfire@gmail.com or call fire information 406-649-9032.