Posted: Jul 3, 2012 12:31 PM by Q2 News
Updated: Jul 3, 2012 5:20 PM
BILLINGS - Weather is expected to be favorable for fire growth on The Ash Creek fire Tuesday. The fire continued to be very active through Monday evening. The major activity is occurring in the ponderosa pine forest where the fuels are dense and are resisting the suppression efforts. The weather, combined with dry fuel, created very active fire behavior with major crown fires and long-range spotting. The fire is currently south of Highway 212 about a mile south of the North Fork of Threemile Creek and a mile west of Sonnette Road; on the north side of Highway 212 the fire is up to Elk Ridge, about a mile south of Stacey School.
There is a Red Flag Warning for the fire area today with temperatures forecasted to reach 106 degrees, relative humidity levels between 5 to 15% with southerly winds at 10-20 mph. With the cold front passage today, winds are expected to change directions later in the day from the south to northwest winds coming in at 15-25 mph with gusts of 35 mph. Almost a repeat of the weather forecast that proceeded the large fire growth seen on July 1st.
Similar to Monday, fire crews will continue to mop-up and patrol the north, west and southwest flanks of the fire; however a majority of the suppression activity will remain on the east, northeast and southeast flanks. Crews, with assistance from local and air resources, will capitalize on opportunities to safely prepare and place direct/indirect fireline around the east side as well as provide structure protection as it is needed during the day.
Ranches and residences remain threatened particularly in the Ashland/Broadus Divide near the leading edge of this fire. Highway 212 between Ashland and Broadus remains closed due to fire activity and smoke. Please respect the fire restrictions in place by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and local Counties by ceasing fireworks and open fire use of any kind.
The Ashland Ranger District of the Custer National Forest is under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions and has initiated area closures due to fire activity on all National Forest System lands north of Highway 212. More detailed explanation of the restrictions and closures is available at the Custer National Forest website www.fs.usda.gov/custer.
There are almost 700 people working the fire.