Fire in Western Pondera County Now 100 Acres
ROGERS PASS FIRE
Lightning has been determined to be the cause of the Rogers Pass Fire, burning on 46 acres, 15 miles east of Lincoln. DNRC and Forest Service firefighters, using heavy equipment and air support, have a line around 25% of the perimeter.
GRAVEL PIT FIRE
The Gravel Pit Fire is 200 acres, burning in heavy fuels on a mix of private and federal land located along Highway 2 near Houghton Creak and McGinnis Meadows Roads. The human-caused fire was discovered on Tuesday, August 1. Firefighters from Montana DNRC, USFS and Fisher River Valley Fire Rescue are on the scene, creating fuel breaks and containment lines and performing structure protection assessments and preparations. Air resources have been used as needed to slow fire spread and cool down areas of heat.
Pre-evacuation notices have been issued to those who live near the area by the Lincoln County Sheriff.
TIN SOLDIER COMPLEX
According to the Flathead National Forest, an overnight infrared flight mapped the Tin Soldier Complex at approximately 2,368 acres in size and it remains 0% contained.as of the morning of August 4th.
- Bruce Fire – 977 acres at 0% containment
- Kah Mtn Fire – 304 acres at 0% containment
- Sullivan Fire – 1,087 acres at 0% containment
- Con Kelly Fire – 0.25 acres – Out.
Fire growth and activity on Thursday was moderate between the 3 fires with an overall increase in acreage of 307 acres. Fire personnel called the Con Kelly Fire out as of yesterday morning. The Bruce, Kah and Sullivan Fires are continuing to be managed with point source protection to protect values at risk, including the Stony Communications Site, hydro-electric plant, Heinrude residential community, commercial guest ranches and the Spotted Bear Ranger Station compound. Fire personnel have conducted initial assessments and preparations for structure protection in these areas.
An evacuation order remains in effect for the Heinrude community.
A masticator and heavy equipment task force were utilized to establish a fuel break around the Wilderness Lodge and the hydro-electric facility. A hose line has been laid along the established fuel break and sprinklers have been set up around the Wilderness Lodge. Exposed wood on the hydro-electric facility was wrapped yesterday and sprinklers were installed along Addition Bridge. Fire personnel have started initial structure protection efforts for the Spotted Bear Ranch, Diamond R Ranch and the Spotted Bear Ranger Station compound that will continue into today. A safety zone is being established on the Spotted Bear Ranger Station compound. Crews continue to work on improving previous fuel breaks around the Spotted Bear Ranch, Diamond R Ranch and the Spotted Bear Ranger Station compound. Additional planned activities for today will include installing hose line and sprinkler systems at these facilities.
THE RIDGE FIRE
An overnight infrared flight determined the acreage at 1576 acres, an increase of 943 acres. Yesterday, there was minimal fire growth on the west side of the fire towards the private properties and communities. Additional fire personnel and equipment have been arriving on scene. Yesterday, crews were working to create a fuel break on FS Road 38. Helicopters provided water bucket drops over the fire area from impacting critical infrastructure such as private property and FS Road 38. Heavy equipment was utilized to create a fuel break on the west side of the fire to limit fire spread onto private property, Coram and Martin City. Today, resources will continue prioritizing firefighting efforts on the west side of the fire. Hand crews are working on creating a fuel break along FS Road 38. Heavy equipment are implementing a fuel break on the west side of the fire to protect private property and the communities of Coram and Martin City. This is a full suppression fire and firefighter and public safety is the top priority. Aerial resources will be utilized as needed to prevent fire from negatively impacting firelines and values at risk.
GLACIER VIEW FIRE
The Glacier View Fire is human caused, and estimated at 3.5 acres. Firefighters have completed containment line and are now working to reduce heat along the edge of the fire perimeter. The interior area of the fire is still producing smoke but poses no threat at this time.
DIRIS POINT FIRE
is estimated at 4 acres (growth of 3.5) based on aerial observation on August 3. The fire is burning on 80-90% slope in thick timber and vegetation with prevalent large-diameter dead trees and is not threatening any values at risk.
STADIUM CREEK and ALCOVE FIRE
These two fires are in and just outside of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, respectively, and are not threatening any values at risk.
EAST FORK FIRE
The East Fork Fire is burning on on the Kootenai National Forest, less than a mile from the boundary of the Flathead National Forest. It is currently estimated at 453 acres with very active fire behavior yesterday, including group torching and spotting in heavy timber and subalpine fir. Firefighting crews will continue to construct indirect line and shaded fuel breaks around the fire perimeter with aircraft working to slow fire behavior while equipment establishes an anchor on the fire.
Firefighters welcome the forecasted change in the weather pattern, which calls for cooler temps, higher humidity levels, and a chance of rain for the next several days. The overnight infrared flight estimated the fire size to be 7,179 acres, and it continues to be most active in the southwestern corner, where yesterday crews and heavy equipment moved in to start construction of a control line along the leading edge of the fire from Forest Road 9570 south towards Sunset Ridge. Crews continued to construct handline along the south side working to the west and staying north of the West Fork of the Clearwater River. The terrain through this area continues to get more difficult requiring crews to work carefully and deliberately to ensure their safety.
On the east side, along Forest Road 646 (Colt/Uhler Road), engine crews continued to patrol and mop up. On the north side, patrolling and mopping up were also the priority work tasks. Along the west side crews tied in handlines and set up pumps and hose directly along the fire’s edge to aid in mop up and control. The Structure Protection Group patrolled the Highway 83 corridor and continued to assess structure protection needs for the Lindbergh Lake area.
BOWLES CREEK FIRE
The Bowles Creek Fire, east of Hamilton, is now 3267-acres. Heavy equipment and masticators continue improving and constructing indirect fuel break (by clearing dead and down vegetation) along Forest Road 711A towards Railroad Creek, and on Forest Road 5071 towards Forest Road 5070. Firefighters improved and successfully held control line as easterly winds shifted fire towards the line. On the west side of the fire, hose lay and sprinklers are still being used by hand crews to support suppression efforts.
A corduroy bridge was built near Crystal Creek Campground for heavy equipment to cross and prevent streambed impacts. A corduroy bridge is made by placing logs, perpendicular to the direction of the route. Fire personnel are addressing various spot fires towards the south. Helicopters to support operations on both ends of the fire area .
BIG KNIFE FIRE
The 2,710 acre Big Knife Fire burned actively Wednesday, with a spot fire south of Big Knife Creek burning eastward into the South Fork Jocko Tribal Primitive Areas and a portion of the fire also well-established on the north side of the Big Knife drainage. The fire is burning in extremely steep terrain, so crews continue to try to flank the fire and monitor the southwest edge. Strategic firing operations may be necessary to prevent spread to the west toward the valley. Aircraft are aiding crews as conditions allow, although limited visibility has hindered some air operations. Big Knife Fire remains visible from Missoula and throughout the Jocko Valley.
The13,686 acre Niarada Fire remained active Wednesday, spreading both to the northeast and southeast. Crews, heavy equipment, engines, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft continue to work the fire, building firelines from safe anchor points and protecting structures in the area. Late Tuesday and Wednesday, the Flathead Interagency Hotshot Crew successfully implemented strategic firing operations on the north perimeter along Cromwell Creek Road, helping secure the fire perimeter nearest Lake Mary Ronan. So far, crews are successfully holding that line. Crews are also scouting for opportunities to stop the fire’s southeasterly progression, where erratic winds and heavy fuels are hampering containment.
MILL POCKET FIRE
Firefighters made great headway on the 1,929 acre Mill Pocket Fire Wednesday, completing initial fireline around the entire perimeter. However, crews need to improve and hold that line before containment is achieved.