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UPDATE: Evacuation Plans in Place as Condon Fire Roars to Life
Condon residents are being prepared for possible evacuations after wildfire roars back to life
The Condon Mountain Fire actively burning last week. - Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
Condon residents are being prepared for possible evacuations after a nearby wildfire continued roaring back to life.

All residents east of MT Highway 83 in Condon are under a “Ready” Stage 1 Alert for a potential evacuation after the Condon Mountain Fire grew to 4,450 acres Monday, coming within one and a half miles of 12 structures, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

In the event of an evacuation, fire managers have established a contingency plan directing residents where to go. The plan is explained in detail online. The residences west of the fire area have been divided into zones for notification based on proximity to the fire. Management action lines have been established to trigger notifications to residents based on fire movement and resistance to control actions.

The fire, listed as 40 percent contained, continues to burn in heavy timber with numerous, standing snags and a high potential for rollout and spotting, fire officials said. Crews expected the blaze to keep actively backing and flanking with short uphill runs in the Cooney Creek drainage on the southern flank and toward the Swan River Valley on the western flank.

The blaze is located just west of the Bob Marshall Wilderness and is visible from Highway 83. A Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management team led by Incident Commander Shawn Pearson continues to manage operations. There are currently 197 personnel on scene.

On Monday, crews attempted to the draw the fire further downhill between Condon and Smith Creeks to help with containment efforts. Construction of the mechanical fuel break on the southwest side has been advanced from Cooney Mountain Lookout southward crossing to the South Fork of Rumble Creek. Engine crews worked around the structures nearest to the fire between McKay and Cooney creeks to clear away hazardous fuels and set up sprinklers. Helicopters were being used for water drops.

The Flathead National Forest has issued an area closure around the fire for public safety, closing Trail #192, East Foothill Trail and Trail #29, Smith-Little Salmon Trail. A temporary flight restriction is in effect surrounding the fire area and the Condon Airport is closed to all non-fire aircraft.

The Condon Mountain Fire began July 28 about four miles northeast of Condon.
On 09-26-12, Fast commented....
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