Chrandal Fire – Wednesday Update July 18
It was another day of cooler temperatures and high humidity at the Chrandal Creek forest fire on the south end of the Bitterroot National Forest.
Crews have now completed firelines on the northeast perimeter and have been laying hose for mopping up hot spots.
The fire is now 15 percent contained. A number of spot fires in the neighboring Salmon-Challis National Forest have been put out.
The cool days are gone, however, and humidity is dropping. Officials expect the fire to move into swaths of trees killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle, which will increase the smoke coming from the blaze. And, as noted last year in the Saddle Fire, the fire behavior will become unpredictable in the beetle-killed sections.
There are 333 people on the fire, including helicopters, engines, dozers and water tenders. Specialized timber feller-bunchers are helping crews clear areas for firelines. Hughes Creek Road remains closed to non-residents.