Wildfire Incident Report

Prepared: Tuesday, November 28, 2023 7:31:35 AM MST

Wildfire Incident Report

Fire, Weather & Avalanche Center
La Grande, OR, USA
Incident #
FWAC Incident ID
Incident Name
Bowles Creek Fire
Last Updated
Tuesday, November 28, 2023 7:23 AM MST
(8 mins, 16 secs ago)
Fire Reported
Thursday, July 20, 2023 1:28 PM MDT
(4 months ago)
Incident Type
17.1 miles E of Hamilton, MT
Responsible Agency
US Forest Service
Responsible Fire Unit
Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
Contain: 11/15/2023 18:00 | Control: 11/15/2023 18:00 | Out: 11/15/2023 18:00
Current Weather

Fire Growth Potential
Fire Weather Forecast
Incident Overview

The Forest received a smoke report in the Bowles Creek drainage area, following a lightning storm on the evening of July 20, 2023. Ground resources and a helicopter flight confirmed the location. Additional smoke reports, received by the Bitterroot Dispatch Center, were checked and confirmed by ground resources. 

Ground resources and an early morning helicopter flight on July 21st estimated the Bowles Fire to be approximately 50 acres and the Daly Creek fire on the Bitterroot side of the divide to be approximately 1-2 acres. Initial attack resources lined and “plumbed” (with water and hoselays) the Daly Fire. Fire operations officials pulled those individuals off the active fireline for safety reasons. Due to this active fire behavior and resulting growth, these fires have merged and will be referred to as the Bowles Creek Fire. Active fire behavior due to receptive fuels and hot and dry weather conditions resulted in extensive fire growth throughout the day.

The fire is located approximately three miles southwest of Skalkaho Pass in the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in steep terrain.  

Last Updated
Fri, Aug 4, 2023 12:23 PM UTC
Incident Type
Fire Discovered
Thu, Jul 20, 2023 8:20 PM UTC
Three miles southwest of Skalkaho Pass in the Bowles Creek drainage
Incident Commander
Brad Bergman
46.190277777778, -113.8125
Total Personnel
3,267 Acres
Estimated Containment Date
Sun, Oct 15, 2023
Fuels Involved

Fuel moisture in 100 and 10 hour fuels in low. This fuel component is the primary carrier of the fire. 1000 hour fuels have dried and have become available as fuels. 

Live conifer fuels are just beginning to cure. Dead canopy component varies from 20% to 70%. Fuel models are especially variable across the landscape.

Significant Events

Northern Rockies Team #8, under the leadership of Incident Commander Brad Bergman, assumed command of the fire Sunday, July 23rd.

Fire Danger has been elevated to VERY HIGH on both forests (Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF and Bitterroot NF). 

Dead fuel moistures have become low enough for a substantial increase in surface fire activity. Fire continues to back downslope and flank side slope in heavy timber with moderate spread rates producing group tree torching and short crown runs at times. 

Dry weather is drawing down live fuel moistures.



Planned Actions
Construct and secure direct hand line in, continue fuel breaks and indirect line construction with masticators and excavators in Division A. Continue indirect line construction and fuel breaks in Division B on east flank. Scout containment opportunities to North and South. 
Projected Incident Activity

48 hours: Thunderstorms expected to arrive Friday with the potential for gusty outflow winds and lightning.

12 hours: Fire activity expected to increase throughout the day as warm temps and low RH, along with northerly winds a concern. Single tree torching with spot fire development is likely.

Forest recreation staff contacted members of the public in the area. Those recreating or traveling in the fire area are encouraged to be aware of the situation and to pay attention to increased fire traffic and road/trail closure signs.
Closures surrounding a fire area are necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the public and provide for safe firefighting efforts and access. Area closure often involve specific trail and road sections. The Forests are assessing the need and potential boundaries of a closure. Specific closure information and maps will be posted on the Forest websites and the fire’s Inciweb page as they are implemented.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect over the fire area for the safety of the aviation resources.
Incident Map

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