GREAT FALLS — The American Fork Fire and the O'Hearn Creek Fire have now burned together, and are now being reported as the American Fork Fire (Inciweb).
The fire is burning about 24 miles southwest of Harlowton in the White Sulphur Springs Ranger District of the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest. As of Tuesday morning, it had burned an estimated 5,200 acres. There have been no reported injuries or damaged structures. The cause of the fires is believed to be lightning.
Firefighters will attempt to hold the fire east at the Blacktail Fire scar and hold west of the Forest Service boundary. Structures in Shields Valley will continue to be assessed. Crews will also hold constructed line along eastern perimeter and continue to use aviation resources to pick up spots and aid in suppression. Additional resources, including a Type II team, have been ordered to aid in suppression efforts
The American Fork Fire saw active fire with rapid growth yesterday, including crowning, running, and long-range spotting. Fire has potential to move north, west and south with continuous fuel depending on wind and slope. Firefighters expect additional growth on Tuesday, under red flag conditions, with high temperatures, low relative humidity, and gusty winds.
Very hot temperatures will continue to dominate the weather through much of the week with minimum humidity. Thunderstorms and gusty outflow winds anticipated today.
The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest and the Custer Gallatin National Forest are currently under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, including the use of charcoal grills. The Custer Gallatin National Forest will be implementing additional restrictions, primarily restricting campfires in all locations. Use of pressurized fuel devices with an on/off switch are acceptable
Trail closures on the Custer Gallatin National Forest include: Turkey Creek Forest Service Road #6634, and Lodgepole Creek Trail #266. Shields Loop and Sunlight Trailhead. Closures on the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest include: the Lebo Trail #640 and Big Elk Trailhead (#640).