Sheep Fire 1 mile from Essex

Highway 2 is reopened, with pilot cars escorting traffic in both directions to ensure safe traffic flow through the fire area. Pilot cars will run 24 hours a day, but the highway could be closed due to changing fire conditions. Expect delays of 10-15 minutes.

The BNSF and Amtrak trains have been running.  For more information on Amtrak call 1-(800) 872-7245.
Residents of Essex and the surrounding area have been advised that they may be evacuated if the Sheep Fire becomes an imminent threat. The American Red Cross has prepared to open a shelter at West Glacier if needed.
Weather: Fire activity was moderate today. There is a predicted fire weather watch for tomorrow. The forecast calls for gusty SW winds and low relative humidity, potentially increasing fire activity. Temperatures are on the increase through this coming week under an unusual high pressure. Isolated dry thunderstorms are predicted to begin in the middle of the week.
A firefighter on the Thompson Fire in Glacier National Park works to extinguish the flames. Credit: Photo by Peggy Miller

The Sheep Fire is the incident priority as it is approaching US Hwy. 2 and the BNSF railway and is threatening the community of Essex.

Air operations continued Sunday with two Type 1 helicopters, a Sky Crane and Chinook working on hot spots. A mobile fire retardant base is being used for helicopter bucket drops.

The Sheep Fire is now 581 acres, and only about 1 mile south of Essex on the Flathead National Forest. It is burning in very steep, difficult terrain with limited access. Today we saw moderate fire activity with group torching. Increased fire activity is expected tomorrow with warmer, drier conditions. Three crews started clearing a fuel break today on the NE flank of the fire below the steep face across from the Goat Lick and to the north. Helicopters worked on hot spots on the ridge area. Goals are to keep this fire from going north towards Essex and moving into the transportation corridor along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. The night shift continues to monitor fire movement

The Granite Fire, 247 acres, is west of Marias Pass and south of Hwy. 2 in the Great Bear Wilderness. It is burning in very steep terrain in a mixed conifer forest below a ridge. Crews have implemented structural protection measures on several backcountry cabins, trailhead structures, a wooden road bridge, and a radio repeater. Three engines were on this fire today looking for potential line construction opportunities using existing roads. The Granite Creek Trail (#156) is closed.


Senators Tester and Daines visited the Thompson Wildfire Complex command center on Sunday. (L to R) Glacier Park Supt. Jeff Mow, Thompson-Divide Complex Incident Cmdr. Irv Leach, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, Flathead Forest Suprv. Chip Weber, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and BNSF Railroad Incident Cmdr. Cory Knutson meet Aug. 23, 2015. (photo J. Moor, NPS)

The Spruce Fire was added to the complex Aug. 19. The Spruce Fire is 3 acres, about 5 miles south of U.S. 2 at Bear Creek in the Great Bear Wilderness. Crews worked on establishing control lines yesterday and this small fire is now at 100% containment. The fire was declared controlled today at noon. The fire will go into monitoring status.

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 has grown to approximately 16,515 acres.

Crews achieved more containment today and are close to finishing mop-up of all edges of the fire. The fire remains west of the Divide and poses no threat to communities around East Glacier and St. Mary. Crews are shifting into a monitoring status. They will leave their pumps and hose lay in place in case a future need arises. The fire will go into monitoring status.
Most of Glacier National Park is unaffected by this wildfire complex and is available for recreational use.  Limited backcountry closures are in place. For more specific visitor information, please see the website