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[cdt-l] Winslow Fire (Centennial Mountains)

A new fire has been reported in the Centennial Mountains.  See the information below regarding CDT closure between Table Mountain and Aldous Lake.

Jim Wolf

  DILLON, MONT., Aug. 14, 2003, 5:30 p.m.?When the morning inversion

lifted on Thursday in the Centennial Valley, southeast of Lima, the Winslow

fire flared up and blew south toward the Idaho state line.

  Fire fighters reported flames 200 feet high on the fire's east flank,

about three miles west of the community of Lakeview, Mont.  Fire fighters

pulled back and air tankers made retardant drops on the east flank.

  The fire was most active Thursday in the high basins near the

Continental Divide, which is the state line.

  The fire is burning between Winslow Creek, on the west, and Matsingale

Creek, on the east.  It has burned only a small area north of the South

Centennial Valley road near the 7L Ranch, and that happened yesterday when

southwest winds blew the fire northeast.

  Officials said the concern is that if the winds shift and again blow

from the southwest, there's little to stop the fire from reaching the

community of Lakeview.

  Fire officials said that if the fire backs slowly east, down to the

retardant line then that line could hold if the winds change.  But, if the

winds change before that happens, the fire could easily blow over the line

and then fire fighters could be faced with defending Lakeview from a

fast-moving forest fire.

  There are four 20-person fire crews, eight fire engines from volunteer

fire departments, three bulldozers, and a helicopter working at the Winslow

fire Thursday.

  No structures have been lost to the fire.  The fire is estimated now at

1,500 acres, but officials said that's only a rough estimate.

  The main roads into the south Centennial Valley remain closed from

Monida, Mont., to Red Rock Pass, at the Idaho state line, and on into

Henrys Lake, Idaho.

  The Centennial Valley Road is closed where it meets the Blacktail Road,

southeast of Dillon, and at Stibal Lane, on the west side of the Centennial


  Other routes in and out of the Centennial Valley are still open.

  Bureau of Land Management officials in Montana and Forest Service

officials in Idaho have closed the Continental Divide trail from Aldous Lake

to Table Mountain.