WILDFIRES CONTINUE TO GROW IN WESTERN MONTANA

WILDFIRES CONTINUE TO GROW IN WESTERN MONTANA

Source: Daily Inter Lake
Click here to read the article: http://www.dailyinterlake.com/article/20170828/ARTICLE/170829851

The Lolo Peak Fire outside Missoula experienced a climb in activity Sunday as drier air returned to the area and humidity dropped.

The fire stands at about 37,800 acres but is now 31 percent contained.

At least 1,000 personnel are actively fighting the fire and are concentrating their efforts on preventing the fire from moving west into the mountains.

Helicopters continue water-dropping efforts along the One Horse Creek ridgeline, keeping the fire from heading south.

The main fire has been stopped at the primary control line from the Elk Meadows Road at the Idaho border north to Montana 12, east to Lolo and south to the mouth of the One Horse Creek Canyon.

Evacuation warnings remain in effect from the Bear Creek area on Montana 12 east to Lolo and south to the Bass Creek Road on U.S. 93.

Though no evacuation order has been issued, the Missoula and Ravalli county sheriff’s offices advise citizens to remain aware of their surroundings and their status as conditions can change.

Montana 12 is now open with a 45 mph speed limit through the fire area.

In Seeley Lake, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has again closed all of Seeley Lake waters Monday afternoon for public safety while crews use the lake water to fight the Rice Ridge Fire. The closure applies to all recreation, such as boating, swimming, wading and fishing, so that aircraft crews can safely operate as they dip water from the lake.

Officials say the closure will be in place until fire crews no longer need to use the lake for suppression efforts.

The Gibralter Ridge Fire near Eureka gained ground over the weekend, consuming 1,500 acres since Aug. 24.

A total of 87 people are part of the Type III Incident Team overseeing the now 5,100-acre fire. About 27 percent of the perimeter is contained.

Evacuation warnings remain in effect for Sherman Creek, Griffith Creek, Therriault Pass Road and Stevens Creek.

Pre-evacuation warnings are in effect for Glen Lake and Sinclair Creek areas.

The Grave Creek Road and the Ten Lakes rest area beginning at the junction of Grave Creek and Foothills Road are closed to traffic.

The Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park has grown to 1,500 acres. A Type II Incident Team of 130 personnel is on scene managing the fire and maintaining point protection at Sperry Chalet, Crystal Ford Bridge and Mt. Brown Fire Lookout.

The Caribou Fire located 21 miles northwest of Eureka has grown to 1,500 acres and crossed the Canadian border.

The Rexford and Three Rivers ranger districts of the Kootenai National Forest are currently working with Canadian officials to contain the fire and establish fire lines.

The fire is burning in timber in the vicinity of Caribou Creek, Sink Creek, Robinson Mountain, Gold Lake and Lake Geneva and is moving northeast.

The U.S. Forest Service has issued a notice closing the national forest system lookout, lands, roads and trails in the vicinity of the Caribou Fire.

That includes Geneva Lake Trail 22, Young Creek Trail 58, Robinson Mountain Trail 59, Dodge Summit Trail 325 and Caribou Mountain Trail 56.

The Caribou Campground remains open.

The 490-acre Blue Bay Fire 10 miles north of Polson is now 60 percent contained.

More than 100 people are managing the fire and used fire-line explosives on Saturday to complete the containment lines on the north edge of the fire.

Four smaller fires in the Flathead National Forest currently are being monitored and managed to allow for their natural ecological impact on the wilderness.

The Scalp Fire is at about 300 acres on Bow Mountain.

The Reef Fire is at almost 250 acres on Count Peak.

The Strawberry Fire is at about 230 acres northwest of Sabido Cabin.

The Dolly Varden Fire is at 160 acres southwest of the Shafer Meadows Work Center above Dolly Varden Creek.

Point protection measures are in place for all structures near the three fires.

Campfires are still prohibited over the Labor Day weekend under Stage II Fire Restrictions currently in place across Northwest Montana.

Air-quality alerts have been issued for the following areas:

• Hazardous — Seeley Lake

• Very Unhealthy — Florence

• Unhealthy — Lincoln, Lolo Lake McDonald, Missoula

• Moderate — Billings, Bozeman, Flathead Valley, Thompson Falls, Hamilton

For up-to-date fire information, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov.