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Evacuation order in effect for Sawtooth Fire

On Monday, Tom Heintz, Incident Commander on the Sawtooth Fire west of Hamilton, initiated a Stage 2 Evacuation Notice. The Notice is for the entire area described as follows:
All residential and commercial properties West of Westside Road; All areas South of Paradise Trail and Blodgett Camp Road; NightHawk Lane South, and roads that access off Night Hawk Lane; and areas North of North Gold Creek Loop. The area includes about 400 homes.
A Stage 2 Evacuation Notice means evacuation is necessary in order to protect the lives of area occupants and emergency personnel responding to the incident. Local law enforcement personnel notified all residents in the affected area. Roadblocks and 24 hour patrols by law enforcement were instituted to protect property within the evacuated area.
Additional closures include Sawtooth Creek Trail #123. Blodgett Campground, Roaring Lion Trail and Canyon Creek Trail #525.
The American Red Cross has established an evacuation center at the First Baptist Church at 345 Cooper Lane, Hamilton. The phone number for the shelter is 363-3735. Livestock can be taken to the Ravalli County Fairgrounds (check in at fairgrounds office). Pets can be taken to the Bitterroot Humane Shelter for temporary housing.
For more information visit, email or call fire information, 363-3556.

Date: September 11, 2012

Time:  8:00 a.m.
Incident: Sawtooth Wildland Fire

Information Phone: 406-363-3556, 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Location: Sawtooth Fire is about 3-4 miles west of downtown Hamilton
Approximate Size: 3950 acres estimated

Containment: 5%

Incident Commander: Tom Heintz, Northern Rockies Type-II Incident Management Team
Resources: Hand Crews:  (2) Type I crews; (3) Type II crews
Equipment: (10) Engines, (2) Dozers, (4) Water Tenders
Air Support: (1) Type 1 helicopter ;(2) Type 3 helicopters.

Total personnel:  244
Injuries: 3

Cost to Date: $1,800,000
Fire Update: A stage 2 evacuation notice remains in place for the following area:
All residential and commercial properties West of Westside Road;  South of Paradise Trail and Blodgett Camp Road; and North of North Gold Creek Loop. The Ravalli County Emergency Operations Center has a public information phone number that interested parties may call at Ravalli County EOC 406-375-6650.  The American Red Cross has established an evacuation center located at the First Baptist Church, 354 Cooper Lane, in Hamilton.  That is 3 blocks east of Murdoch’s on the south side of town.  The phone number for the sheltering and evacuation center information is 406-363-3735.  Persons who have been evacuated are asked to check in at the center and sign a registry, even if they do not plan to remain at the shelter.
The night shift reported a good night with the fire being actively burning all night.  The fire was burning high on the mountain with group torching not uncommon during the night.  Everything was held in place, and again no structures were lost thru the night.  Observers calling the fire information phone reported surprise at what they could see after the smoke lifted and darkness fell.
The infrared map of the fire shows the growth to be occurring on both the north and the south flanks of the fire.
Today the weather will be cooler and less windy with 12-14 mph sustained winds with gusts to 25 mph.  Humidity is expected at 15-20% in the valley and 25-30% on top.  We are experiencing lots of ash and embers falling over the area.  The probability of ignition is calculated at about 50% based on the weather and fuel.  That means that 50 out of 100 hot embers that find a receptive ignition bed can start a new fire.  Please be watchful for new fire starts.
The Forest Service will be using aircraft again today to support the suppression forces on the line.  Aircraft missions in the Wildland/Urban Interface are inherently more risky.  The Forest Service will make sure that firefighters and the public are clear of any drop zones.  Also the aircraft will not overfly areas with groups of people or vehicles.

An information trailer on Highway 93 at Roaring Lion Road will be staffed as needed each day while this fire is active.
Closures:  Sawtooth Creek Trail #123, Roaring Lion Trail #124, and Canyon Creek Trail #525, and Blodgett camp ground are closed due to fire activity.
Special Concerns:  New fire starts!  Attention: Stage 1 Fire Restrictions remain in effect for this area. Information on fire restrictions can be found at
More Information: Visit Inciweb at, email or call fire information 406-363-3556. Ravalli County EOC has established a recorded phone line with current evacuation information at 406-375-6650.

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