Mud Lick Fire

A Boeing CH-46 helicopter uses a water-drop bucket to fight the Mud Lick Fire near Salmon on July 25, 2021.

 

The 20,650-acre Mud Lick Fire about 22 miles west of Salmon is now about 92% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

“This represents the amount of the fire’s edge that has been effectively ‘contained’ with control lines completed around the fire perimeter that are expected to stop the fire's spread,” the Forest Service stated. “A point-protection and confine-and-contain strategy has been used … due to steep terrain and lack of access.”

Since its ignition on July 8, the fire has prompted evacuations in lower Panther Creek and Napias Creek, five trail closures, a five-mile airspace closure and eight partial road closures. It grew from about 4,000 acres on July 14 to 19,000 acres on July 28. Lately, it has been most active between Big Deer Creek and the Bighorn Crags Campground.

Weekend rain helped lower temperatures in the fire area and limit fire progression, according to InciWeb.

Due to fast uphill runs and erratic fire behavior, the Mud Lick Fire is not expected to be fully contained until the end of the month.

“A portion of the Mud Lick Fire is burning within the boundaries of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Inaccessible terrain is a primary reason why this fire will be a long duration event,” the Forest Service stated on Monday. “The portion of the fire within the wilderness is expected to be a long duration fire. Fire behavior is expected to increase as fuels dry following this push of monsoonal moisture.”

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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