Cause of Fire on Rogers Pass Under Investigation
Here is the latest on the largest of the 5 dozen or so fires currently burning in Montana. Information gathered from InciWeb and other sources:
ROGERS PASS FIRE
The cause of this 60-acre fire is under investigation. It started Tuesday afternoon south of Highway 200 and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. Aviation resources, crews, and heavy equipment from Montana DNRC and the Forest Service are on scene with additional resources on order.
EAST FORK FIRE
This lightning-caused fire was first reported over the weekend. It is burning on 102 acres in heavy timber & subalpine fir on a ridge just west of the East Fork of Sunday Creek, approximately 12 miles south of Trego, MT. An inititial attack crew and water drops are trying to contain the growth of this fire, in spite of hot, dry, and windy conditions.
TIN SOLDIER COMPLEX
is a group of 4 fires located on Spotted Bear District in the Flathead National Forest, located outside the boundaries of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The four fires include:
Bruce Fire – 791 acres at 0% containment
Kah Mtn Fire – 521 acres at 0% containment
Sullivan Fire – 160 acres at 0% containment
Con Kelly Fire – 0.25 acres. Containment line has been established around the perimeter of the fire.
The fires are expected to continue to increase in size with the forecasted weather conditions. The Bruce, Kah and Sullivan Fire are being managed to protect structures at risk, including the Stony Communications Site, a hydro-electric plant, the Heinrude residential community, and commercial guest ranches. An evacuation order is in place for the residential community of Heinrude located off the westside of Hungry Horse Reservoir Rd.
The fire remained active in the southeast and southwest corners on Tuesday as hot temperatures and low humidity levels continued to encompass the fire area. Containment increased to 19% and the overnight infrared flight mapped the fire at approximately 6,860 acres in size, an increase of 156 acres. Firefighters monitored two main areas of active heat and fire near the fire’s edge in Uhler Creek on the southeast corner and between Beaver and Sunset Ridges on the southwest corner. In response, crews continued to hold and secure the southeast corner and aerial retardant drops were used to slow fire spread on the southwest corner. Helicopters were used to cool hot spots. Along the south side crews continued to work on handline construction north of the West Fork of the Clearwater River continuing to move to the west. On the east side, along Forest Road 646 (Colt/Uhler Road) engine crews continued to patrol, mop up, and increase containment. On the north side, crews and equipment took holding actions along the established fire control lines, monitored for spot fires, and continued to construct control lines. This includes working near Colt Lake and Beaver Lake. The Structure Protection Group patrolled the Highway 83 corridor and worked on assessments in the Lindbergh Lake area.
A public meeting will be held at 7 pm on Wednesday, August 2 at Seeley Lake Elementary School, 200 School Lane, Seeley Lake. Incident Management Team members and local officials will provide an update on the Colt Fire. The meeting will also be streamed live on the Colt Fire Facebook page
Fuels feeding this 8400-acre fire 12 miles west of Elmo include Short grass (1 foot), tall grass (2.5 feet), timber (grass and understory). Extreme fire behavior is occuring, with long-range spotting, uphill runs, and group torching.
BIG KNIFE FIRE
This fire was started by Lightning, and has grown to 2000-acres, burning in heavy timber, 5 miles west of Arlee. The fire's behavior is marked by active uphill runs, group torching and backing.
The 122 firefighters assigned to this blaze are focused on keeping it out of the Jocko Valley, where it would threaten homes.
A community meeting for the Big Knife, Noriada, and Mill Pocket fires will be held on Thursday, August 3, 2023 at the Arlee Community Center at 6:00 PM. This meeting will be broadcast live on the CSKT Division of Fire Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CSKT.Division.of.Fire). A second community meeting will be held on Friday, August 4, 2023 in Elmo.
BOWLES CREEK FIRE
Last evening’s infrared flight showed the fire increased by 337 acres, with a new size of 3,213 acres. On the west side of the fire, hose lay and sprinklers are being utilized by hand crews to support suppression efforts. Heavy equipment and masticators continue improving and constructing indirect fuel break along Forest Road 711A towards Railroad Creek. Fire personnel are monitoring various spot fires towards the south and improving handline.
On the east side of the fire, hand crews and heavy equipment continued indirect fireline along Forest roads, creating shaded fuel breaks by clearing dead and down vegetation. The fire is most active on its south and east flanks.. Fire is established northeast across Bowles Creek and has crossed Forest Trail 313 to the southeast. Heavy equipment on the east flank was pulled back due to increased fire activity, and will resume today.
Fire personnel are utilizing helicopters to support operations on both ends of the fire area, when available.