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UPDATE, FIRE SEASON 2009: Steady as she goes on Bielenburg FirePosted on July 22

UPDATE, FIRE SEASON 2009: Steady as she goes on Bielenburg FirePosted on July 22

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ANACONDA - Status quo seems to be the word of the day on the Bielenburg Fire 10 miles north of Anaconda.

The lightning-caused blaze, discovered just Sunday, was listed at 175 acres this afternoon, still down from its peak of 300 acres.

About 200 firefighters and support personnel remain on assignment with help from two helicopters and three fire engines.

There is an area closure in effect for the national forest lands generally within the Dempsey, Racetrack and Bielenberg drainages for public safety reasons.

Good progress was made on Tuesday with firefighters completing line and beginning mop-up procedures on the southeast flank of the fire.

On the northeast flank, firefighters began removing hazardous trees and mopping up hot spots along the perimeter. A risk assessment and determination of management options for the west flank is under way.

The primary objective remains keeping the fire north of Racetrack Creek and from moving south and east onto private lands.

Firefighters currently are working to mop up any hot spots for at least 40 yards inside the fire perimeter. They continue to look for, and extinguish, any spots outside containment lines.

No accidents or injuries have been reported on the fire so far. It is burning in mountain pine beetle-killed lodgepole pine in steep, rocky terrain, with numerous snags creating a safety hazard.

Temperatures are expected to be warmer each day this week as a high pressure ridge strengthens over the area. A thermal belt over the fire area has kept nighttime temperatures in the 60s with poor humidity recovery.

The pattern is expected to continue through the week.

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