National Preparedness Level at highest point; Divide Complex fires

The Divide Complex fires are ongoing and are now about 2,600 acres with 192 personnel assigned.

The National Preparedness Level was raised to Level 5 on July 16. Level 5 is the highest designation from the National Interagency Fire Center and means that “several geographic area are experiencing large, complex wildland fire incidents, which have the potential to exhaust national wildland firefighting resources. At least 80 percent of the country’s IMTs and wildland firefighting personnel are committed to wildland fire incidents. At this level, all fire-qualified federal employees become available for wildfire response.”

Cascade County implements Stage 2 fire restrictions

Air resources are being shared between the two fires. Four helicopters are available for bucket drops and other support missions, according to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest

At the Balsinger Fire, there are eight engines assigned, plus a Type 1 hotshot crew, two water tenders and one dozer. A total of 87 personnel are assigned.

FWP discourages floating on Smith River due to fire and low flows

“Special thanks to to the Monarch and Neihart County Rural Fire Departments and Cascade County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office for their help on this fire,” according to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.

CCSO issued evacuation orders for Belt Park, between Neihart and Monarch, on July 11 due to the fires.

On the Ellis Fire, there are nine Type 6 engines, five Type 2 handcrews, two dozers, one skidgen and two water tenders. A pre-evacuation order was placed for the Smith River corridor from Camp Baker in the south to Blacktail Creek to the north.