Essex Area Fire Update 8-28-15 8:00pm
The Sheep Fire is the incident priority of the three fires that make up the Thompson-Divide Wildfire Complex.as it is approaching US Hwy. 2 and the BNSF railway and is threatening the community of Essex. As of Friday evening, the fire had closed to within 1/8-mile of the railroad main line, and was 1 mile from Essex.
The Sheep Fire is now 1595 acres, and burning in very steep terrain with limited access. The fire is about 1 mile south of Essex and about 1/8 mile from the train tracks between Tank Creek and MacDonald Creek. The fire has not crossed Sheep Creek to the south. Because of clouds and heavy smoke, the fire was less active today. Winds were significant, especially on ridges. Construction of a shaded fuel break using heavy equipment on the west-side of the BNSF railroad tracks from Sheep Creek to Dickey Creek drainages started Aug. 26. This activity continued today around Essex and efforts were made to remove the logs and slash that have accumulated. The objective of this fuel break is to reduce the fuel component and space the tree crowns to limit fire spread and torching. It will also provide a safe location for firefighters if it is decided to burn out fuels in advance of the fire front. Helicopters were actively used to drop water on the fire until later in the day due to a lack of adequate visibility. Structural protection in Essex will continue. A night shift continues to monitor fire movement and patrol the Essex area and Walton compound for any encroaching fire activity.
The Granite Fire now 701 acres, and is burning in very steep terrain in a mixed conifer forest. The fire is located west of Marias Pass and south of Hwy. 2. The fire started in the Great Bear Wilderness and has moved north out of the Wilderness. Yesterday, the fire moved to the west along a ridge between 2 unnamed tributaries of Granite Creek and northwest toward Patrol Ridge. A crew was flown into the Granite Cabin to put in structure protection measures, including wrapping and sprinkler placement. Crews have implemented structural protection measures on other facilities in the fire’s vicinity. Crews have established locations for fireline construction and possible shaded fuel break opportunities when sufficient crews become available for their construction. Helicopter bucket drops are being used to help check fire spread.he fire is located west of Marias Pass and south of Hwy. 2.
Closures are in effect for some trails in the vicinity of the fires for Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest. For more info, click HERE.