Yogo Fire

Estimated 3,000 acres in Little Belts consumed to date
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Yogo Fire

Views of the Yogo Fire taken before it reached Prospect Peak around 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3. Photos courtesy of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest

Yogo Fire

Photo captured of the Yogo Fire from infrared (IR) flight the morning of October 5. Photo courtesy of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest

Yogo Fire

Up-to-date Information

The Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest has been actively providing updates on its Facebook page and online through InciWeb (Incident Information Center; https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7229/)

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A total of 119 firefighters and support staff were on the Yogo Fire in the Little Belt Mountains and Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest Wednesday, which had burned an estimated 3,000 acres as of Wednesday morning, Oct. 7.

The wildfire began in the Judith Musselshell Ranger District around 10 miles east of Neihart and approximately a mile and a half from Yogo Peak at 1:13 p.m. on October 3, according to the United States Forest Service. The cause is under investigation.

Within hours, the Yogo Fire had moved to Prospect Ridge. Pre-evacuation notices were issued by Judith Basin County to residences in the Middle Fork of the Judith River. By the next day, Sunday Oct. 4, the Yogo Fire had grown significantly due to high winds, dry fuels and steep slopes, according to a Forest Service press release. Fortunately, on Oct. 6, even with high winds and a red flag warning, firefighters were able to prevent exponential grown and contain the spread to an estimated 50 - 100 additional acres, according to the Forest Service.

Utilizing helicopters and air tankers, firefighters were able to make progress Saturday afternoon; on Sunday progress was made on the north and west flanks of the fire, according to the Forest Service.

“Air attack efforts were hampered on the east side of the fire due to high winds, visibility concerns, and limited firefighting resources,” the Forest Service wrote in a press release.

Over the weekend, the Yogo Fire was burning between the Warm Springs Basin and Yogo Creek. Strong southwest winds pushed the fire 4-5 miles east of its origin into the Yogo Creek drainage to its the confluence point with Skunk Gulch, according to the Oct. 4 press release.

The Yogo Fire is now in between Appraisal Creek and Skunk Gulch, according to infrared imaging.

Air Attack, four helicopters, and district resources are working to contain the fire. According to the Forest Service, two structure groups are in place to make plans for the residences in the Middle Fork and Dry Wolf drainages.

The estimated containment date for the Yogo Fire reported by the Forest Service is Nov. 15. Chiara Cipriano, incident contact with the Forest Service, clarified that this is a conservative date, considering that a fire of this size would need a “season-ending event,” like a large snowfall, to fully suppress it. This does not mean the fire is expected to be as actively spreading into November, Cipriano said.

Incident Commander Matt Plagenz said in a Forest Service press release, “Our primary objective is to protect the public while not compromising safety to our firefighters and pilots. We are asking for the public to follow evacuation orders and respect area closures.”

Judith Musselshell District Ranger Ron B. Wiseman said in a separate press release, “We are building a strong team and working to enact protocols to ensure our firefighters and communities remain safe from COVID-19 and the fire.”

Closures

A closure area containing Forest Service roads and trails has been issued, and hunters and hikers are urged to avoid the area. At the time of this article, there had been no evacuation orders for nearby residents; however, visitors in the Yogo Creek drainage were evacuated for public safety over the weekend.

Dry Wolf recreation site and Dry Wolf Cabin have been closed to protect the health and safety of firefighters and communities. Trails impacted by closure order include the following: Arch Trail, Arch Coulee, Cleveland Creek, Schaeffer Ridge, Woodchopper Ridge, Dry Wolf, Bear Park, Cleveland Creek, Gibson Peak, Lyon Gulch, Bear Gulch, Dry Wolf Alternate, Silver Gulch, Lost Fork Judith River, Schaeffer Ridge, Yogo Creek, North Dry Wolf, Big Baldy, Prospect Ridge, Morris Creek, Stiner Creek, Pioneer-Big Baldy, Kings Hill ATV, Snow Creek, Lyon Falls, Butcher Knife, Skunk Gulch, Doerr Creek, King Creek-Decom, Middle Fork Judith River and Woodchopper Ridge.

Editor’s note: The Forest Service is updating the incident report website twice daily, morning and night. Please visit this website for ongoing updates (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7229/)

 

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