Divide Complex Fire Monday Update


GREAT FALLS – The Balsinger and Ellis Fires are being handled jointly as the Divide Complex Fires. A Type 3 Incident Management Team is in command of the fire, led by Incident Commander Zach Saavedra and trainee Brad Tausan.

A community meeting will be held on Monday July 19 at 4 p.m. at Neihart Community Park. The seats are limited; people may want to bring their own chair. Maps and updates will be available for the Balsinger and Ellis lights. If you have specific questions, representatives from the Incident Management Team and the US Forest Service will be available to answer them.

  • If you can’t attend, the fire information line is 406-272-6349 and is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with general information.

The Balsinger fire is now estimated at 1,688 acres, without containment on Monday; it was triggered by lightning. A Cascade County Sheriff’s Office evacuation order remains in effect for Belt Park residents due to the Balsinger fire.

The Ellis fire burned approximately 1,058 acres and is 25% contained; the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

There were no injuries and no reports of damaged structures.

The Divide complex has 249 people affected. This includes five Type 2 crews, one top Type 1 crew, sixteen Type 6 engines, one Type 5 engine, two Type 4 engines, one Type 3 engine, three bulldozers, one skidgen unit and three tankers. of water.

For the next operating period, resources on the Balsinger fire will focus on sustaining the fire north of Divide Road, resolving any overflows, and connecting burned areas by removing unburned fuel. Structure preparation continues in the Belt Parkway area. On the Ellis fire, cleaning and securing of the existing line of fire will take place on the northern flank. Ignitions to secure the fire perimeter may occur in the western part. Two Type 2 helicopters and one Type 1 helicopter are available for drops and other support missions.


Weather: “Red Flag Warning” in effect – 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm on 07/19. High pressures aloft will continue to bring warm temperatures, light winds and low RH percentages on Monday. Mid-level monsoon moisture pushing northeast from the Grand Basin will increase the likelihood of showers and dry thunderstorms Monday afternoon and evening. Showers and thunderstorms are also expected on Tuesday with a slightly higher probability of wet rains. Minimum RH percentages will drop in the upper teen age bracket on Monday and in the upper twenties to the lower thirties on Tuesday with poor recoveries each night.

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