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Fire Forces Closure of Swift Dam Campground, Trail

Due to the current fires burning in the Lewis and Clark National Forest and the Strawberry Creek area, Pondera County has closed the Swift Dam Campground and the Swift Dam trailhead until further notice.

Strawberry Fire backing towards Trail #161 9-6-17 (USFS Photo)
Strawberry Fire backing towards Trail #161 9-6-17 (USFS Photo)

The Crucifixion Creek fire, now estimated at 8191 acres, continues to work north along the east side of South Badger/west aspect of Curly Bear Mountain exhibiting short crown runs and short range spotting that allowed the fire to spot north of several small scree fields. The fire spotted across the South Badger and has became established on the east aspect of Goat Mountain. This was the most active portion of the fire and on the evening of August 31st the fire, under red flag conditions, added a couple thousand acres with growth to the west up Goat Mountain and to the North to trail junction 101/104. The fire has established on the south aspect of Half Dome Crag and in Runner Gulch and continues to back towards Badger Cabin.

The landscape consists of heavy timber in drainage bottoms and interspersed meadows in the upper slopes, as well as very rocky areas with discontinuous vegetation and the 2015 Spotted Eagle Fire (Family Peak Complex) disturbance providing a natural barrier to the north and east of the fire.

The next public meeting will be held Wednesday September 13, at 6 p.m. at Heart Butte High School.

The Strawberry Fire has burned to the Flathead/Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest boundary, but due to natural barriers it has not crossed nor spotted onto the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. The fire continues its slow progress by backing down towards Strawberry Creek and across the upper reaches of East Fork Strawberry Creek. The fire is above Trail #161 and has not crossed Trail #371. The fire is being monitored by personnel from Sabido Cabin. Additional trail closures are being evaluated.

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