The Alder Creek and Trail Creek fires in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest have now burned more than 35,000 acres combined, as the Christensen Fire grew to 1,274 acres as of Sunday morning.
An update from the Southern Area Incident Management Blue Team says fire activity picked up Saturday on the Alder Creek Fire west of Wise River. The fire has crossed Alder Creek and is now established on the north side of the drainage. Containment lines to the east of the fire are holding as crews continue to prioritize structure protection.
The Beaverhead County Sheriff's Office says that Stage 2 evacuations will start at noon on Sunday from Alder Creek Road north to Dickie Bridge on the southwest side of Highway 43. All other existing evacuations will remain in effect.
The Trail Creek Fire now stands at 27,797 acres west of Wisdom, according to the Sunday morning update. The Big Hole National Battlefield and communications tower north of Highway 43 are secure. Firefighters are working to prevent fire growth to the east, with a hotshot crew on the Continental Divide using tactical firing to keep the fire on the Montana side of the border.
The Christensen Fire was active on Saturday, growing to 1,274 acres 12 miles west of Wise River. The fire made a two-mile run to the east, although northward fire growth is minimal and the fire remains several miles from the Highway 43 corridor.
Highway 43 is currently open, and motorists are asked to slow down and be on the alert for firefighters, downed trees, and heavy smoke. For current conditions, travelers should check the Montana Department of Transportation road report.
The Continental Divide Trail is closed from Lemhi Pass north to Schultz. The Big Hole Battlefield is closed until further notice.
The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest entered Stage 2 fire restrictions on Friday. For up-to-date fire restriction information, visit: https://www.mtfireinfo.org/