The Billings Outpost

Sunday morning Crow Agency fire update

Date:  Sunday, July 27, 2014  9 a.m.

The 167 acre Lodge Grass Basin fire has not grown for several days now on the jumbled walls of Lodge Grass canyon. About 30 firefighters are on Tepee Pole Ridge north of the fire, but cannot safely climb down to extinguish the smokes and embers that remain.

Because of the terrain, there is no safe way to build a fireline around the ragged edges of this wildfire or to contain the fire. Although no flames have shown for days, the fire is not out. It still has the potential to grow fast in weeks to come if a spark travels into vegetation that ignites. When the trees and grass got dry enough, the 2011 Hoss and 2005 Bighorn fires exploded from similar small unreachable canyon fires. The Lodge Grass Basin fire showed little smoke Saturday, but a heavy helicopter worked through the day dumping water on any hot spots found.

Rather than keep many firefighters sitting above the inaccessible remaining embers, early in this week the Crow Tribe and BIA will downsize the team, but leave an engine in place to constantly monitor any fire activity. The Crow Agency helicopter returned Friday from a dispatch in Oregon and will aid in frequent reconnaissance.

If the fire were to perk up or grow, managers have plans in place to quickly re-expand the team at work – and meet the edge of any growing fire by preparing more defensible firelines.

The humidity rises a bit Monday, with a slight chance of thunderstorms each day the coming week.

New: Find more photos of the fire on the internet at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ or search for “inciweb Lodge Grass Basin”.

Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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