Evacuations still in effect as crews battle Copper King Fire

Posted at 10:51 AM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 12:51:53-04

Evacuations are still in effect as crews continue to battle the 22,000-acre Copper King Fire burning near Thompson Falls in northwest Montana.

There are still 45 homes in evacuation status with 130 additional residences in pre-evacuation status.

Officials say the evacuation notices will remain in effect until further notice. 

More specific information about homes in the evacuation areas can be found by calling (406) 827-3584, extension 3.

Meanwhile, a new area closure is in effect near the blaze, restricting public access in order to protect the public and fire personnel during ongoing firefighting operations, according to fire managers. The closure includes lands within the jurisdiction of the USDA Forest Service, Montana DNRC, Sanders County, and Weyerhaeuser.

Watersheds within the closure order include Thompson River drainage, Weeksville Creek, Buffalo Bill Creek, Smiley Creek and their tributaries.

An area closure map is posted online.

Firefighters took advantage of calm winds and higher humidity to continue burnout operations on Thursday while a mobile retardant base was put in north of the fire to support suppression operations. Crews are continuing to patrol along Montana Highway 200 and the southern portion of the ACM road with structure protection measures still in place.

Fire managers add that there was a 10 acre spot fire on the northeast side of the fire Thursday, one mile west of Mudd Flat. Crews attacked it immediately and worked on it overnight.

There are 576 people fighting the fire, which is about 15% contained.