(CANYON CREEK/RATTLESNAKE FIRE) Thursday's lightning-caused Rattlesnake Fire has burned about 582 acres, and on Saturday, fire crews set up camp and strategized on clean-up.
Officials estimated the fire at about 900 acres on Friday, but new mapping has resulted in the revised, smaller figure. There are about 218 people assigned to the fire.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation says that as of Saturday evening, the fire perimeter is about 40% contained.
Fire crews on Saturday cleared the bottom of the Rattlesnake drainage of dead Aspen logs, which was potential fuel for the fire.
"The operations over the next couple of days include mopping up any hot spots that may be within the immediate fire perimeter," said Kristen Baker-Dickinson, Public Information Officer for DNRC.
Hot spots are a particularly active part of the fire; in Saturday's case, hot spots were underneath the earth, around the roots of shrubs and fallen trees.
"Even with just a little sun, the fire could spark up again, warming up a hot spot, but the sun does help reveal where the hidden hot spots are. We are finding all the heat today with the sunshine and it allows us to target these hot spots, to put them out, to have a more secure perimeter for this fire", said Kurt Hanson, The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Assist Team.
The Saturday fire crew clean up included: DNRC, Canyon Creek Volunteer Fire Department, and three 20-person Hot Shot crews.
The fire is on private property - the Sieben Ranch, and the 888 Ranch. The DNRC is communicating with landowners regularly.
People should use caution on Lincoln Road (HWY 297) as fire traffic will be entering and exiting the area. Rattlesnake Gulch Road, Canyon Creek Wildlife Management Area, and Sieben Block Management area remain off-limits to the public.
Visit Inciweb for more details about the fire.