Fire Updates: Lightning Sparks 66 Fires in Northern Rockies Region
A prolonged drought and thunderstorms are an explosive combination. There are 188 fires burning in the western U.S. today, including 66 in the Northern Rockies. Here is the latest on those closest to us:
HELENA NATIONAL FOREST
The Sucker Creek Fire north of Lincoln has grown to 13-hundred acres in the past 24 hours, pushed by hot, dry, windy weather, and the abundance of available snags and dry fuels. Several homes and cabins have been evacuated in the Copper Creek area and the Elk Creek trail area. There is a roadblock at Hwy 200 and Copper Creek Road. Alice Creek road is also closed. A Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered and will assume command of the fire this weekend. Two public meetings are scheduled. One tonight at 7 pm at Hooper Park. Tomorrow nights meeting will be at 7pm at the Lincoln Community Hall.
FLATHEAD NATIONAL FOREST
The Bear Creek Fire is burning on the Spotted Bear Ranger District in Flathead National Forest. The fire was detected on August 12, one of 14 new fires started on the ranger district after a lightning storm passed through the area. The fire is located about 53 miles south of Hungry Horse, MT and approximately 5.5 miles southwest of Spotted Bear. The fire is burning in the area of the 2000 Chipmunk Fire. A local Type 3 Incident Management Team is managing the Bear Creek Fire along with two other smaller fires, Addition Creek and Lake Creek Fires. As of 8/14 the Addition Creek Fire was declared out and 1/10th of an acre. The Late Creek Fire is 1 acre in size with active fire behavior. A fire line has been constructed around the fire with helicopter water drops also being done. A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place, 4 nautical miles around the fire. This does not affect the other airstrips in the area.
The Three Sisters Fire is approximately 35 miles northeast of Swan Lake in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It is 44 acres and is being allowed to follow its natural course, since it is lightning caused and not threatening any structures.
TRAIL CLOSURES: The entirety of Trail #99, from Chipmunk Peak TH to its terminus at the junction with Trails #82 and #101.
The Bunker Creek Road #549/Trail 101 from Bunker Creek TH to its junction with Trail #101A
The Middle Fork of Bunker Creek Road #2820/Trail 91 from junction with the Bunker Creek Road #549/Trail #101 to junction with Trial #7.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
The Thompson Fire is estimated to cover 14,900 acres in a remote south-central backcountry area of Glacier National Park about 15 miles east of the West Glacier entrance and 12 miles southwest of the Saint Mary entrance. The fire is burning in the Thompson Creek and Nyack Creek drainages west of Medicine Grizzly Peak where the Flathead and Glacier Counties border follows the Continental Divide. Aerial resources are being used on the Thompson Fire to control fire spread. Helicopters dropped water on hot spots in the Nyack Creek drainage.
A cold front is expected this afternoon with increasing winds and possible strong thunderstorms. A Red Flag Warning for fire behavior is in effect from noon to midnight. Strong winds will first come from a southerly direction, turning westerly behind the front. Strong thunderstorms capable of gusty winds and hail are also expected. Cooler weather and higher humidity are expected Saturday, with a return to seasonal conditions Sunday.
The Reynolds Creek Fire, along Going to the Sun Road west of St Marys continues to burn within the fire perimeter on the east side of the park. Last week it moved into the Rose Creek drainage, where it is likely to burn until snowfall. Going to the Sun Road has been re-opened from St Marys to Logan Pass. Firefighters and equipment may be working along the road.
The Thompson Fire has prompted closure of the Nyack and Coal Creek areas, including trails and backcountry campsites.
Siyeh Pass Trail, from Siyeh Pass to Sun Rift Gorge
Sunrift Gorge, Saint Mary Falls, and Virginia Falls
Red Eagle Trail, towards Saint Mary Falls
Coal Creek Trail
Nyack Creek Trail
Cutbank Pass Trail, in the Nyack drainage
Park Creek to Coal Creek cutoff trail
Dry Fork Trail, from Pitamakan Pass to Two Medicine Campground trailhead and Two Medicine Entrance
Morning Star Trail, from Cutbank Auto Campground to Pitamakan Pass
Atlantic Creek Trail, from Cutbank Auto Campground to Triple Divide Pass
Medicine Grizzly Lake Trail
Dawson Pass Trail / North Shore of Two Medicine Lake
North Shore Two Medicine Junction to Dawson / Pitamakan
Upper Two Medicine Lake Trail
Cutbank Frontcountry Campground
Rising Sun Frontcountry Campground
Otokomi Backcountry Campground
Reynolds Backcountry Campground
Lower Nyack Backcountry Campground
Upper Nyack Backcountry Campground
Beaver Woman Lake Backcountry Campground
Nyack/Coal Creek Camping Zone
Coal Creek Backcountry Campground
Atlantic Creek Backcountry Campground
Morning Star Backcountry Campground
Oldman Lake Backcountry Campground
No Name Backcountry Campground
Upper Two Medicine Lake Backcountry Campground
The Weigel Fire is burning on 120 acres 24 miles northeast of Libby. A Type II Incident Management Team has been assigned to direct firefighting efforts on that fire and the 80-acre Dunn fire, burning east of Libby. Both fires are lightning-caused. The Dunn Fire is 50% contained.
he Scotty Brown Fire started Monday, August 10th and is located near Ovando, MT. This fire is under the Clearwater Unit protection. The lightning-caused fire is currently at 23 acres with 50% containment. River Junction Road is closed to non-emergency traffic. The fire is burning in very difficult terrain with active fire behavior and spot fires.