Pre-evacuation order issued for Shields River Road

Jason Bacaj – Enterprise Staff Writer
Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Enterprise photo by Jean Skillman

A view of the town of Wilsall looking east, Oct. 20, 2020.

Growth in the American Fork Fire burning in the Crazy Mountains triggered a pre-evacuation order Wednesday for residences in the Shields River Road area, according to a release from the incident management team working the fire.

The release further stated that forecasted south wind today might force an evacuation.

The fire has grown to more than 9,500 acres and is 10% contained, according to the release. Currently 192 people are working the wildfire, including crews, engines, bulldozers, a water tender, a masticator and an excavator, the release states. Further resources have been provided by private ranchers, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Cascade County and Meagher County.

The Wilsall Fire Department has invited community members to spend an hour at the station on Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 7 p.m. to familiarize themselves with the fire trucks and pumps “just in case!” according to the department’s Facebook page.

Management of the American Fork Fire is also changing hands to the Southern Area Incident Management Red Team, a Type 1 team that will assume command of the incident on Saturday.

There are five levels of wildland fire incidents, with Type 5 being the least complex and Type 1 the most complex, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Right now managing the fire is the Southern Area Incident Management Gold Team, a Type 2 team that took command over the incident on Friday, July 23.