MTPR

Wildfire Roundup for July 18, 2017

Jul 18, 2017

Updated 6:05 pm

Fire officials in the greater Flathead Valley say there’s been 86 wildfires reported in the area since July 1, and at least half of them are human caused. The area is currently pegged at “Very High” fire danger, as hot, dry conditions and almost daily lightning storms persist.

Lincoln Chute is the fire manager for Flathead County Office of Emergency Services.

"It's the parking in tall grass," says Chute. "It's campfires, debris burn. Check the chains on your trailers. Spin them a couple times, twist them so they aren’t dragging. Check the bearings."

On the Flathead Indian Reservation, where fire danger is rated as “Extreme,” fire managers say they’re also battling fires they suspect were caused by arson. The Tribal Forestry’s Division of Fire is accepting tips about abandoned campfires and intentional fire starts.

Fire managers across the valley are reminding drone pilots that flying through active wildfires is illegal and automatically grounds aerial firefighting.

They also encourage homeowners to make sure house numbers are clearly visible from the road with reflective numbering.

Smoke seen in the valley this morning was from fires burning in British Columbia.

The Lazier Creek 3 Fire is estimated to be 1,145 acres, with 80 percent contained and 316 personnel assigned. Firefighters are patrolling the northeast area of the fire for remaining hot spots and beginning to remove hose and other equipment from secure areas.

The Rogers Mountain Fire is nearly contained, with 35 people assigned to the 78-acre blaze. Crews are dousing hot spots within the burn area and starting to remove hose and other equipment from secure areas of fireline.

Updated 3:05 pm

Most of the wildfires burning in Montana saw little growth yesterday, with the exception of the Park Creek Fire burning about 5 miles north of Lincoln. The Park Creek is now estimated at about 1,600 acres, that’s up from an estimate of 275 acres a day earlier.

Fire managers say it grew so quickly due to red flag conditions pushing the fire into dense stands of dead timber. They also say that the fire is bounded by previously burned areas to the north and east, which should help limit its spread.

Yesterday a pair of spot fires were identified north of the Park Creek.

Today managers expected the fire to burn actively to the northeast, and crews planned to wrap the Stonewall Mountain fire lookout to protect it.

There are currently 138 people fighting the Park Creek Fire.

Numerous National Forest trails and roads in the area of the Park Creek Fire are closed.

Also in Lewis and Clark County - people evacuated due to the Lookout Fire five miles northwest of Wolf Creek are being allowed back into their homes.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton announced that at a public meeting in Wolf Creek last night. Residents will be required to check in with Sheriff’s Staff located at a roadblock.

The Lookout, has burned 390 acres. The U-S Forest Service says additional people and equipment assigned to the fire yesterday were able to keep it from growting.

Fire managers are warning people in the Lincoln area to expecte heavy fire-related traffic on Highway 200.

The Lolo National Forest is continuing to monitor the Lolo Peak Fire west of Missoula.

That lightning caused fire discovered Saturday is now estimated at 60 to 70 acres, and the majority of it is burning just within the northern boundary of the Selway-Bitterrroot wilderness.

Forest managers say ground and/or aviation resources may be used against the Lolo Peak Fire, but at this time, for safety reasons, firefighters are not engaging it on the ground due its location in remote, rugged and inaccessible terrain.

###

People evacuated due to a fire five miles northwest of Wolf Creek  will be allowed back to their homes.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton announced that at a public meeting in Wolf Creek last night. 

That fire, known as the Lookout, has burned 390 acres. The U-S Forest Service says additional people and equipment assigned to the fire yesterday were able to prevent growth of the 390 acre fire.

Residents will be required to check in with Sheriff’s Staff located at a roadblock.

In the Missoula area, a plume of smoke on the flank of Lolo Peak yesterday had many concerned about a fire there.

It was from a lightning caused fire discovered Saturday. It is burning in the south fork of Lolo Creek and is currently estimated at 15 acres. A helicopter dumped buckets of water on the fire yesterday.

Boyd Hartwig, a spokesperson for the Lolo National Forest said yesterday,  “it’s a super remote fire. It’s not by any structures or property. Fire manager’s currently assessing any kind of action we need to take on that fire. It might be some bucket work. But it’s a fire we’re not going to put any personnel on right away just because of its location and just the difficulty and safety issues associated with that."

Hartwig says the current very high fire danger is expected to persist through at least this week, with continued hot, dry weather.

Most of the wildfires burning in Montana saw little growth yesterday, with the exception of the Park Creek Fire burning about 5 miles north of Lincoln. The Park Creek is now estimated at about 1,600 acres, that’s up from an estimate of 275 acres a day earlier.

Fire managers say it grew so quickly due to red flag conditions pushing the fire into dense stands of dead timber. They also say that the fire is bounded by previously burned areas to the north and east, which should help limit its spread.

Tags: