UPDATE: Hard-to-Reach Fires Gain Ground in the Bob.
BOB MARSHALL WILDERNESS -- There are four fires burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
The George Lake Fire is burning on the bottom of the slope at the northeast end of George Lake, located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. As of Thursday afternoon, the fire is 684 acres, a gain of just under 10% since Tuesday's report. Reconnaissance and Infrared (IR) Mapping flights will monitor the fire as resources allow. Due to the rocky terrain and lack of available fuels, no other actions are planned at this time.
The Ursus Fire originally showed primary growth to the east, but it has since reached the 2012 Elbow Pass burn scar which should act as a buffer to slow the spread of the fire in that direction.The fire has steadily grown along the north and south flanks in heavy timber, and now covers 4237 Acres, a gain of over 100 acres in a span of 48 hours.
The 1932-acre Cannon Fire, 15 miles northeast of Condon, is still spreading slowly. There is a significant fire history in the surrounding area that will affect fire spread, though it has areas of timber, litter and understory to work with..
The Dean Creek Fire, 30 miles east of Swan Lake, has gained 38 acres since the last report 2 dayas ago, and as of Friday morning, covers 521 acres. Fire activity is described as "minimal", but it is on the lower third of a southeasterly facing slope, and still has room to grow.
DILLON -- The Sunrise Fire is located south of Ennis in the Gravelly Mountain Range. The 174-acre blaze is on the Madison District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and private land. The cause has not been determined.
Top priority for firefighters is to secure the fire edge on private land and are monitoring the Sunrise Fire's north and east edge. Crews are also working to identify and break up hotspots as they secure the west flank of this fire, which is now 50% contained.
Nearby, the Clover Fire continues to burn, but crews have completed primary and secondary containment lines around the perimeter of the 1225-acre area.
HAMILTON-- Northern Rockies Team One has responsibility for five fires in the Hamilton and Corvallis areas. Blodgett Lake Fire (1882 acres), Mill Lake Fire (1608 acres), Big Creek Fire (265 acres), Bear Creek Fire (153 acres), and the Kootenai Creek Fire (0.5 acres). .
The Mill Creek and other drainages continue to be filled with heavy smoke, hampering aerial reconnaissance. Crews constructed a thirty-foot-wide shaded fuel break on the west side of Sheafman Road from Cow Creek trailhead to Sheafman trailhead. Crews will scout opportunities for control lines north to Fred Burr Creek. Crews continue working on indirect control lines along the Forest Service Private Property boundary from Mill Creek south to Blodgett Canyon, utilizing heavy equipment. Firefighters will continue to scout for strategic line locations and control features that could check/slow the fire's spread east towards private and DNRC lands.
A structure protection group will coordinate with Fire Departments to scout structures adjacent to Forest Service land east of Big Creek, Bear Lake, and Blodgett Lake fires.
The Blodgett Fire has crossed Blodgett Creek along the east flank and is smoldering in down and dead fuels. Recent moisture and cooler temperatures have slowed fire progression.
The Forest has implemented additional trail closures across the fire area. Refer to the Bitterroot National Forest website for details https://www.fs.usda.gov/bitterroot
HAVRE -- Firefighters continue to make progress on the 7,225 acre Eagle Creek Fire, on the south slope of Baldy Mountain in the Bears Paw Mountains south og Havre. As of Thursday evening, it is 80%, contained. The fire still has the potential to move to the north and/or east, but firefighters are holding the line, and the fire has not gained any ground over the past 72 hours.
The Lions Campground and Sandy Creek Campground remain closed until further notice. Emergency and local traffic only on Beaver Creek Road above Upper Bear Paw Lake.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
HELENA -- The No Grass Creek fire is located in Powell County on the west end of the Helena Ranger District of the Helena-Lewis&Clark National Forest The fire covers 1145 acres, and has plenty of dead trees in the area to feed on. Because of the current state of the dead timber, and the location within a roadless area, it’s neither safe nor effective to send firefighters into the area. Fire personnel are managing from the air. No homes or private property are threatened by the fire.
MARION -- The lightning-caused Lemonade Fire has not grown for several days. It remains estimated at 668 acres, and incident commanders report 90% containment as of Wednesday evening. The fire is in the Flathead National Forest, 21 miles west of Kalispell. Firefighters continue to look for hot spots, cool the fire's edge, and mitigate hazard trees. Expect primarily smoldering and creeping in pockets of heavy dead and down still holding fire. Slight chance for a few single trees to torch. Spot fires are still possible.
LIBBY -- The Bull Gin Complex, a group of four wildfires in the Kootenai National Forest, covers a total of 3673 acres. The Bull Gin Complex received a wetting rain across the fire complex significantly reducing fire activity yesterday. Rain affected road conditions limiting travel and use of heavy equipment until early afternoon. Once conditions cleared, Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) modules collected aerial observations and infrared assessments to support on-the-ground firefighting efforts. Firefighters observed little to no growth of the fire yesterday.
The Government Fire, 2 miles northeast of Noxon, is listed at 2284 acres. Firefighters and heavy equipment continue fuel removal along the 150 road in the Rock Creek drainage. To the southeast, hand crews utilize chippers to reduce slash from check lines within the 2763 road system. Firefighters will patrol, monitor, and secure control lines to the west and southwest. In the northwest, the fire is holding along Government Creek.
The Rock Lake Fire is controlled and in patrol status.
Two miles northeast of Heron, the Billiard Fire is now 1112 acres. Where fire has reached control lines on the west side from Fatman saddle north, hand crews are “mopping up” or extinguishing areas of heat working 30 to 60 feet interior from the control line. Hand crews and heavy equipment are constructing additional check line at the top of the 2293 road system. Mastication and fuel removal will continue along Fatman Road. Engines will patrol structures in Blue Creek, Blue Creek Bay, Hillside Lane, and Fatman Road.
The Isabella Lake Fire has grown to 277 acres, and is in rough inaccessible terrain in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. The fire is being monitored by air.
SULA -- The Trail Ridge Fire, is burning about 0.25 miles away from the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), 5 miles SE of Sula, MT and 11 miles NW of Big Hole National Battlefield. It continues to grow slowly and as of Thursday morning, it is 17,070 acres, with 30% containment.
The fire is burning in a remote, rugged area of the 2000 Mussigbrod Fire burned area. There is a large amount of deadfall on the ground with numerous snags throughout the area, making it unsafe for firefighters to tackle it head-on.
The minimal smoke and fire behavior seen over the last couple of days are helpful in firefighting containment efforts. With this weather break crews have not slowed the work to construct indirect line in the event of another warming and drying trend. Fire Managers are working to be prepared for this possibility until a season ending even occurs.
Meanwhile, the Thompson Creek Fire, 19 miles east of Sula was declared 100% contained at 85 acres on Wednesday, Sept 14. The fire has been put in ‘Patrol’ status.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK -- There's been no change in status for the Quartz Fire and the North Camas Fire..
The Quartz Fire continues to consume dead and down heavy fuels within its perimeter. The Quartz Fire is estimated to be 1981 acres. A squad remains staged at the Quartz Lake Cabin reinforcing structure protection and patrolling the Quartz Fire.
The North Camas Fire continues burning in very steep, inaccessible terrain and is estimated at 71 acres as of Tuesday, Sept. 12.. The fire is not currently threatening any structures, park resources, nor the public.