A cold front that moved into western Montana Saturday brought higher humidity, but also gusty winds that fanned the Alice Creek fire burning northwest of Lincoln.
Warm, dry and windy conditions Saturday night kept firefighters busy, especially in the Elk Meadows/Evergreen and Silver King Lake areas, as well as in the Telephone Gulch and Green Mountain areas where the fire continues to move downhill towards structures, according to the incident management team.
Firefighters worked hot spots and set up sprinklers in strategic locations to wet the area and lower temperatures as much as possible. The predicted cold front moved over the fire area at approximately 4 a.m. Saturday, bringing increased winds, but also higher relative humidity and cooler temperatures.
Higher humidity and cooler temperatures remained over the fire Sunday.
"While temperatures have dropped and humidity has increased, the continued dry fuels and windy conditions, coupled with steep terrain, equate to extreme conditions that may produce crowning fire and the potential to produce spot fires up to a half mile ahead of the main fire," the incident management team said in an update.
Personnel are using heavy equipment to respond to the fire’s movements that immediately threaten infrastructure. Dozers, skidgens and feller bunchers are improving existing roads across the entire southern and eastern flanks. These roads are serving as fire lines to help protect communities, ranches and other private property near the fire.
Air tankers, helicopters and super scoopers also fought the fire through the weekend.
Highway 200 and all other major routes in the fire area remain open, but can be closed "at a moment’s notice" if fire activity changes. The fire has moved to about half a mile from Highway 200.
Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for residents between mile markers 92, near the crossing of the Dearborn River east of Rogers Pass, and highway 434 -- along highway 200 on both sides of the road. Elk Meadows/Evergreen subdivisions are under mandatory evacuation notices. Landers Fork, Elk Trail Park and Alice Creek community areas are under a pre-evacuation notice.
The Alice Creek fire has burned more than 27,000 acres and is considered zero percent contained.