Thompson Fire Complex Update 8-21-15 9:00am
US-2 remains closed to thru traffic between East Glacier and West Glacier. Local residents are being allowed through to retrieve valuables from homes and cabins in the Essex Area. Residents have been told to prepare to evacuate on short notice, but an evacuation order has not been issued as of 8am this morning.
The Sheep Fire is now estimated at 232 acres, about 2.5 miles south of Essex in the Great Bear Wilderness of Flathead National Forest. It is burning in very steep, difficult terrain with limited access. The fire was very active yesterday with the influence of the predicted Red Flag weather conditions. The fire spread northeast toward the Middle Fork and was about ½ mile from US-2 and BNSF railroad tracks last evening. A heavy helicopter was effective in applying about 29,000 gallons of retardant on portions of the perimeter to slow spread.
Because of fire spread fire managers requested a closure of U.S. 2 at West Glacier (Mile Post 154) and East Glacier (MP209) with residents only allowed past these points. Access between MP178 (Walton) and MP185 (Bear Creek) have restrictions.
More than 200 structures are threatened by the Sheep Fire, including homes and cabins, the Izaak Walton Inn, along with a wooden railroad trestle and several snowsheds.
The Granite Fire is west of Marias Pass and south of Hwy. 2 in the Great Bear Wilderness. It is burning on 65 acres, in very steep terrain in a mixed conifer forest below a ridge. Thursday, crews assessed the area to determine the best plan of attack. They implemented structure protection measures on several backcountry cabins. Crews have been encountering numerous snags that need to be dealt with for safety before line construction.
The Spruce Fire is 2 acres in size, located about 5 miles south of U.S. 2 at Bear Creek in the Great Bear Wilderness. Several smokejumpers and a small crew worked on establishing control lines to contain this small fire. The Spruce Park cabin is a special concern on this fire.
The Thompson Fire is located in a remote south-central backcountry area of Glacier National Park about 15 miles east of the West Glacier entrance in the Thompson and Nyack drainage and west of the Continental Divide. It covers 14,095 acres. Crews made good progress yesterday mopping up some edges from burnout operations earlier in the week to contain the fire. Today, crews will continue that effort. The fire remains west of the Divide and poses no threat to communities around East Glacier and St. Mary.