The Incident Management Team in charge of the Thompson Wildfire Complex held a public meeting Tuesday evening to inform residents of the Essex area about two fires that broke out over the weekend. Residents of Essex and surrounding communities were advised to prepare their property and themselves because of the proximity of the Sheep fire, which is 3 miles south of Essex. No evacuations have been ordered.

Residents were told:

  • Create defensible space around property by clearing brush.
  • Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe place.
  • Plan escape routes and make sure everyone knows the plan. 


Thompson Fire (Glacier National Park) - 13,820 acres, 0% containment

The Thompson Fire, reported Aug. 9, is located in a remote southcentral backcountry area of Glacier National Park about 15 miles east of the West Glacier entrance in the Thompson and Nyack drainages west of the ContinentalDivide. Crews remain camped out and working in the Nyack Creek drainage today. Crews have been successfully conducting burnout operations to reduce fuels in avalanche chutes on the west side of the fire’s perimeter to contain the fire. They plan to continue doing some cleanup of the burnout operation. Fire personnel will continue monitoring the Two Medicine and Cut Bank drainages for any fire that might cross to the eastside of the Continental Divide.The fire remains west of the Divide and poses no threat to communities around East Glacier and St. Mary.Most of Glacier National Park is unaffected by this wildfire and is available for recreational use. Limited backcountryclosures are in place.

Granite Fire (Flathead National Forest) - 39 acres,0% containment

The Granite Fire is west of Marias Pass, south of Hwy. 2 and southeast of Glacier NP in the Great Bear Wilderness.It was detected on Sunday, Aug. 16. It is burning in very steep country in a mixed conifer forest below a ridge. The fire had minimal activity Tuesday with creeping and smoldering. Crews are encountering numerous snags that need to be dealt with for safety before engaging.

The Sheep Creek Fire, part of the Thompson-Divide Complex, burns in the Flathead National Forrest about 2.5 miles south of Essex, MT, Aug. 18, 2015. (Photo Jonathan Moor, NPS)

Sheep Fire (Flathead National Forest) - 73 Acres, 0% Containment

The Sheep Fire is about 3 miles south of Essex in the Great Bear Wilderness. It was detected on Saturday, Aug. 15.It is burning in very steep country with difficult access. The fire has minimal activity early with creeping and smoldering and increases somewhat in the afternoon with single tree torching. Smoke jumpers and 2 crews are constructing line with support from helicopter water drops. Crews are looking to construct a helispot for crew transport. Fire managers are initiating preliminary structure protection analysis for the Essex community.

Weather Forecast:

Wednesday thru Thursday, weather will be warming and drying with breezier conditions. These conditions could increase fire activity with isolated tree torching. As fuels in the burn area dry, there will likely be an increase in smoke production that may be seen from local communities.