Fire officials Thursday morning reported “minimal growth” of the Gibralter Ridge fire on Wednesday and that firefighters were focused primarily on keeping the fire east of Forest Service Road 756/Foothills Road.
In addition, about 300 people attended a public meeting 5 p.m. Wednesday at Eureka High School at 340 9th St. in Eureka, where officials addressed fire status, expected fire activities and safety concerns.
A 6 a.m. Thursday report put the fire’s size at 1,493 acres and location 7 miles east of Eureka. In addition, 10 additional engines we reported ordered and fire managers planned to use logging equipment to assist 219 fire personnel in battling the wildfire.
Thursday’s plan was for “firefighters (to) patrol for spot fires on private and state lands and (to) use Foothill Road as a control line to minimize the threat to the structures in the area,” the report states. “Crews are scouting north and south of the fire for locations for contingency lines and look for areas to thin the vegetation to modify fire behavior which will provide for firefighters the best opportunity to hold the fire.”
Barring significant changes in weather or fire behavior, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office planned to allow evacuated residents into their homes between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Thursday to check on their properties and gather belongings.
The areas of Sherman Creek, Griffith Creek, Therriault Pass Road and Stevens Creek remained under evacuation orders Thursday morning, while other areas, including Glen Lake and Sinclair Creek southeast of West Road were under pre-evacuation, the report states.
Closures included Grave Creek Road past the junction of Foothills Road and Grave Creek Road and the Ten Lakes/Grave Creek recreation area beginning at the junction of Foothills Road and Grave Creek.
Command of the fire was taken over 6 p.m. Wednesday by Rick Connell’s Northern Rockies Western Montana Type 2 Incident Management Team. 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.
Officials have said the Gibralter Ridge fire was one of several fires started by lightning east of Eureka Monday.