Phillips Fire Fairfield

Smoke from the Phillips fire was visible from afar on Saturday, but the blaze has grown exponentially since then.

The Phillips Creek Fire was mostly contained Tuesday morning as more than 400 people work to put down the 2,112-acre blaze north of Fairfield. 

Under command of the Great Basin Incident Management Team 3, 414 firefighters made huge strides containing the fire on Monday into Tuesday. As of Tuesday morning, it was 86 percent contained, up from 7 percent the same time Monday. Due to more accurate mapping, the size of the fire was also amended down. 

"Today, firefighters will monitor completed fireline, implement suppression repair, and be ready to respond to any new starts near the fire area," the U.S. Forest Service said in a press release. "Suppression repair includes repairing hand line and dozer line by smoothing out the berm on the sides and creating water bars to help prevent erosion.  

"We ask that the public stay away from the fire area for the safety of the firefighters and the public. "

On Monday night, Hailey Fire Chief Mike Baledge commended the hundreds of firefighters dispatched to the area since the fire began last Wednesday. 

 “The fire is pretty much out—good on them. There’s no active burning right now,” he said during a Monday council meeting. “There are some internal hot spots they’re watching, and they’ll be watching the edges over the next few days especially with possible lightning strikes on Wednesday. But I’m betting by Tuesday it will be 25 to 30 percent contained.”  

Current estimates far surpass Baledge's expectations, though the work is not done. Strong winds, hot temperatures and possible thunderstorms could amplify already ripe wildfire conditions in the forest this week, though they "are not anticipated to produce more than minimal fire activity," according to federal forecasts. 

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

Load comments