UPDATE: Weather is Helping and Hindering Firefighters
The weather continues to aid firefighters battling established wildfires in western Montana, but the thunderstorms are also sparking new fires across the area. Here are the latest details on some of the named fires from InciWeb, the interagency wildfire database:
QUARTZ FIRE - No new fire activity was observed on the Quartz Fire Tuesday. Last night’s infrared flight mapped 18 acres of fire growth over the past two days, with the current fire acreage at 1696 acres. Scattered and isolated heat sources were detected with no areas of intense heat.
There are now 35 firefighters on this fire, and additional crews are patrolling both the east and west sides of Glacier National Park for any new fires resulting from recent and ongoing lightning. Showers and thunderstorms are expected again today and are expected to become stronger in the afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch from noon through late tonight.
RISING MOON FIRE - Evacuation orders have been lifted. The Rising Moon Fire has been contained at 135 acres near Canyon Ferry Dam. Officials say one shop building was lost, and a house next to it had some damage to its siding, but firefighters were able to save the house.
REVAIS FIRE - 24 firefighters are working on a 15-acre fire burning 4 miles west of Dixon. This fire is located in very steep, rocky, rugged terrain. They are digging a control line and fuel break at the bottom of Revais Creek near structures, though none of the structures are considered at risk at this time.
SUTTON FIRE - Firefighters and crews managing the Sutton fire, 13 MILES southeast of Eureka now have it 95% contained. The lightning-caused fire is still holding at 108 acres. Crews continue to secure the perimeter,and patrol for spot fires to the north of the main fire. Their goal is to keep the north and west flanks inside established control lines. The fire still has an opening to move to the south due to inaccessible steep, rocky terrain.
HOG TROUGH FIRE - The 1718-acre Hog Trough Fire has settled down quite a bit lately due to cooler temperatures, scattered precipitation, and higher humidity levels. 173 firefighters are working to steer the fire to the south and east, through previously burned areas.
Today, on the southwest flank of the Hog Trough Fire, the Bitterroot Hot Shot crew will continue to work down the Weasel Creek Trail, clearing out woody debris to widen the fireline and prepare it for use as primary containment line to keep the fire from moving north toward the Skalkaho Highway corridor.
To the southeast yesterday, the Helena Hot Shot crew successfully completed firing operations, tying the Signal Rock Trail into the 5071 Road. Today, as long as fuels are receptive and the weather is conducive, they will burn off of the 5071 Road from were Signal Rock Trail ties in and extend south along some improved dozer line. Firing operations are focused on widening fuel breaks in a safe and controlled manner in order to keep the fire to the south where fuels are much less densely distributed due to previous burns. Fire crews have contained the fire along the northwest and northern edge and put it in patrol status.
DEAN CREEK FIRE - The Dean Creek Fire was detected on August 14th. It is burning on 328 acres in the Dean Creek drainage, located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The fire is burning on the lower third of the southeasterly facing slope approximately three miles up drainage from the junction with Spotted Bear River. The Spotted Bear Ranger District Wildland Fire Module (WFM) has wrapped the Pentagon Cabin and outlying buildings and installed hose lay and sprinklers to protect them, should the fire reach that point. Due to high spread potential, a closure for the Dean Creek drainage is now in effect.
CANNON FIRE - The Cannon Fire is primarily burning in the Cannon Creek drainage, located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The fire is burning on the south facing side of the slope and has spotted over the ridge into the sub drainage that separates Cannon and Gorge Creeks. The western flank of the fire remains the most active. The Spotted Bear Lookout and Jumbo Lookout are monitoring fire activity, with assistance from aerial reconnaissance resources. There is a significant fire history in the surrounding area that will affect fire spread.
SULLIVAN FIRE - Crews have encircled this 80-acre fire 13 miles North of Hot Springs. Water drops are being used to suppress the fire in grassy areas, while ground crews are securing the control lines and putting out hot spots.
GARCEAU FIRE - 340 firefighters continue to secure perimeter, and the fire is 55% contained at 6724 acres. Helicopters will also be used on hot spots. The fire, which is 10 miles west of Polson, was caused by an electric fence.
ELMO FIRE - There have been no updates posted on the Elmo Fire since last week, when it was listed as 21,349 acres with 78% containment. Most personnel have been moved to other fires. 40 firefighters continue patrolling and mopping up along Elmo's containment lines. The public will continue to see some interior smoke, and fire crews are patrolling those areas.