The weather has been good in the last few days to firefighters working the Deep Creek Canyon Fire near Townsend.

Fire Information Officer Mark Vosburgh spoke to KGVO News late Friday and provided an update on the fire.

“Today we're at just over 4,600 acres on the fire,” said Vosburgh. “We're having a pretty good day suppression wise because the winds are light today so the crews are actually making some pretty good headway. We have seven hand crews on the fire and certain amount of aerial resources helicopters and to have the Canadian water scooper planes. They're scooping water from the Canyon Ferry Reservoir and working the fires.”

Vosburgh further described the response to the fire.

“We also have seven hand crews. two engines and three dozers,” he said. “The two water scooper planes six helicopters, three ‘skidgens’ which are kind of a combination of a dozer and a water tender, in fact they are a fire engine combination and we have a total of just over 216 personnel.”

Vosburgh said containment of the Deep Creek Fire as of late Friday was still at zero percent, but he expects that to start changing over the weekend.

“We don't have any containment called yet. We're at 0% containment, but we're predicting with the favorable conditions that we're having today and tomorrow (Saturday)  that before the winds come that we should be starting to get some containment numbers coming in. So, we'll keep plugging away through the weekend and do our best to get this fire contained.”

A Type Two management team has taken over management of the fire, and so the aviation grounding that occurred after a helicopter crashed earlier in the week has been lifted.

Reportedly, the helicopter crashed not far from a Montana Highway Patrol vehicle and some other Forest Service personnel who reacted quickly and took the crew to safety before the helicopter burst into flames. Injuries to the crew were minor.

“That grounding has been lifted,” said Vosbergh. “We are flying aircraft again. Our big concerns now with the aircraft are just the conditions such as smoke and wind but none of those are issues right now. So we're flying the aerial resources on the fire and we'll be doing that through the weekend, so that that grounding has been lifted.”

Evacuations for residents in the Grassy Mountain area have been lifted.

Fire officials are asking travelers who are using Highway 12 in the area to please do not stop along the road to view the fire, as it may endanger responding fire crews.

(KGVO also thanks Jeannette Smith, Public Information Officer, herself an experienced fire information officer, with the Missoula County Sheriff's Office for her assistance in getting this report)

(photo courtesy of Inciweb)

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