Updated 4:30 p.m.
A Facebook page devoted to the Gibralter Ridge fire 5 miles east of Eureka was reporting Wednesday morning a more accurate estimation of the fire’s size and a public meeting to be held Wednesday evening.
In a post to the page made shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, it was reported that an unspecified aircraft equipped with infrared imaging equipment flew over the fire late Tuesday “to map a more accurate fire perimeter.”
“Through this IR flight we now know the fire to be at 1,133 acres (as of 10:30 pm, August 8th),” the post states.
Earlier Tuesday officials estimated the size of the fire at 800 acres to 1,000 acres. At 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, there were no updates about whether the fire had grown overnight.
The Facebook page also reported that a public meeting about the fire would be held 5 p.m. Wednesday at Eureka High School at 340 9th St. in Eureka. Officials will address fire status, expected fire activities and safety concerns.
Fire officials said their priorities were protecting structures and holding the fire at Foothills Road and their “largest concern” was “gusty and erratic winds” that could blow embers in front of the main fire and cause spot fires.
“Firefighters will be patrolling for these spot fires and suppressing them as necessary,” a fact sheet states. “Ground crews will also be continuing suppression activates, assisted by aerial resources and heavy equipment.”
A Type 2 Incident Management Team will take command of the fire 6 p.m. Wednesday.
At about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, an InciWeb web page for the fire noted Sherman Creek, Griffith Creek, Therriault Pass and Stevens Creek were under evacuation orders and Sinclair Creek Road (south/east of West Road) and the Glen Lake area were under a standby for evacuation. In addition, the Ten Lakes/Grave Creek recreation area was closed at the junction of Foothills Road and Grave Creek.
Current evacuations can be found on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LincolnCountySheriffMontana.
Agencies working on the fire include the Forest Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Eureka Volunteer Fire Department, Trego-Fortine-Stryker Volunteer Fire Department, Lincoln County Emergency Management Services and the American Red Cross.
According to the Forest Service, about 80 fire personnel are on scene with more resources being ordered.
Officials have said the Gibralter Ridge fire was one of several fires started by lightning east of Eureka Monday. It has caused evacuations to be ordered, pre-evacuations to be prepared and various areas to be closed.