Flathead National Forest officials are busy dealing with 18 wildfires, in addition to the three (Sheep, Granite, Spruce) that are being managed by the Incident Command Team responsible for the Thompson-Divide Complex. Most are less than 1 acre in size.
Here is the situation according to this morning's report from the Forest Service:
Bear Creek Fire: SIZE: 28,700 Acres The strong smoke inversions that held over the fire for the past few days allowed for moderate fire behavior and prevented fire managers from getting a good aerial view of the fire to assess growth. The fire burned actively during the night due to thermal belts (A zone of high nighttime temperatures and relatively low humidity experienced within a valley or mountain side) and grew to the south from the Mid Creek area toward Black Bear Creek.
On the northern flank the fire moved down Larch Creek and Jungle Creek to the edge of the Meadow Creek Road #2826. Fire behavior is mostly smoldering and creeping with minimal tree torching.
Crew continued to mop up hot spots in the Meadow Creek and Gorge Creek Trailheads and along the Gorge Creek Road #549. Heavy machinery (feller-bunchers and skidders) is creating a fuel break along the Meadow Creek Road from the Jungle Creek area to the Wilderness Lodge. The contingency fire breaks being created with heavy equipment behind the Spotted Bear Ranger Station has been completed.
The structure protection (wrapping buildings with fire resistant material) occurring at the support facilities( the hydro-electric generating plant, road bridges, and Stony Hill Electronic Site) for the Spotted Bear Ranger District north of the Bear Creek Fire has been completed. Structure protection at Spotted Bear Lookout was completed.
Five wilderness rangers are staged at Black Bear Cabin in the Bob Marshall Wilderness to contact Wilderness users and advise of alternate exit routes. The main objective for this fire remains at keeping the public and firefighters safe.
Trail Creek Fire: Size: 11,701 TheTrail Creek Fire moved to the east into Whitcomb Creek. Fire crews are securing the southwestern flank of the fire off of the Flat Creek Road # 5359. These lines are securing the fire from moving toward the west. Engines are patrolling and securing holding lines along the Spotted Bear River Road.
140 personnel are assigned to the all of the fires on the Spotted Bear Ranger District. No injuries or accidents have occurred on the fire to date.
CLOSURES from BEAR CREEK FIRE
The Spotted Bear Campground is CLOSED and will be used to accommodate fire fighter sleeping areas.
A large area closure has been developed for the northern end of the Bob Marshall Wilderness for public safety. The closure includes the Meadow Creek Rd. #2826, the Gorge Creek Rd. #549, Meadow Creek and Gorge Creek trailheads, Meadow Creek Airstrip, Eastside South Fork Trail #80 from Meadow Creek Trailhead to Damnation Creek, Gorge Creek Tail #218. Access to the Bob Marshall Wilderness will be via western and southern trailheads. See attached map for closure details or call Spotted Bear Ranger District at 406 758-5376.
-An Area Closure is in place in the Spotted Bear River Drainage and Middle Fork Drainage. Included in this closure is all access to and from the Spotted Bear River Road; South Creek Trailhead, Trail Creek Trailhead, Middle Big Bill Trailhead, Beaver Creek Trailhead and Campground, Silvertip Trailhead, Lower Twin Trailhead, and Upper Twin Trailhead. Note: the East Side Road and West Side Road are open and provide access to Spotted Bear Ranger Station, Diamond R Guest Ranch, Spotted Bear Guest Ranch, Wilderness Lodge. Trails are closed out of the respective Trailheads listed. Of note, the trail to Scott Lake and Flotilla Lake from the West Side of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River and Schafer Creek is within the Area Closure. Contact Spotted Bear Ranger District for more information 406-758-5376.
-An Area Closure is in effect for the Granite Creek Fire area. For further information contact Hungry Horse Ranger District 406-387-3800.
-Trail closures are in place for the Three Sisters and Moose Ridge Fires. This includes trails on the Rocky Mountain Ranger District; the Rock Creek Trail #111, North Fork Red Shale Trail #130, North Wall Trail #174, Gates Creek-Moose Creek Trail #166, Moose Creek Trail #131, and Moose Furman Trail #261. Contact Rocky Mountain Ranger District for more information 406-466-5341. This closure also causes users to alter their National Recreation Trail CDT route and there are several options to consider. Contact Rocky Mountain or Spotted Bear Ranger Districts.
-Trail closures are in place in the Upper Middle Fork in the vicinity of Muskrat Pass , Cox Creek, Cap Mountain and Beaver Lake and within the Badger Two Medicine. As a result of these closures the National Recreation Trail CDT route is being rerouted at Gooseberry to Schafer Meadows to Lodgepole Creek and to Badger Creek. The Morrison Creek Trail #154 has been closed on the Hungry Horse Ranger District. Trail access to Schafer Meadows is limited although the airstrip is still open.
-An Area Closure is in place on the Seeley Lake Ranger District that closes all access and use of the Pyramid Pass Trailhead. Contact Seeley Lake Ranger District 406-677-2233. Spotted Bear Ranger District and Seeley Lake Ranger District can help with alternative routes.
-The Flathead National Forest is in Stage II Fire Restrictions. All forest users are asked to comply and remain diligent on the risks that exist.
Spotted Bear District Fires
A number of fires are burning throughout the Spotted Bear Ranger District. All of the fires have been prioritized based on availability of crews and values at risk. Most of the fires are unstaffed although they are being monitored for growth and fire behavior.
The following fires are burning in the Spotted Bear River drainage:
·Three Sisters Fire (431 acres)
The fire is burning in very steep, rocky terrain at high elevation in the upper portions of Three Sisters Creek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The fire has crossed over on to the Lewis and Clark National Forest. The fire is being managed to allow natural fire to play its ecological role in the Wilderness, but fire managers will take suppression action to protect Forest Service administrative sites if they become threatened. In response to this, the Rock Creek administrative cabin has been wrapped with fire resistant material. Trails have been closed in the immediate area.
·Goat Spur Fire (1/10th acre)
This fire is being managedalong with the Three Sisters Fire
·Milk Fire (3.5 acres)
·Whitcomb Fire (1/10th acres)
·Upper Twin Creek Fire (1/10th acre)
The following fires are burning in the Middle Fork drainage-- Great Bea/Bob Marshall Wilderness:
·Cap Mountain Fire (1/4 acre)
·Bone Creek Fire (1/2 acre)
·Miner Creek Fire (265 acres)
·Miner Lake Fire (1/10th acre)
·Burnt Creek Fire (1 acre)
The following fires are burning in the South Fork drainage—Bob Marshall Wilderness:
·Woodward Fire (1/10th acre)
·Babcock Creek Fire (1/10th acre)
·Tillson Fire (15 acres)
·Youngs Creek Fire (450 acres)
The fire is moving on the ridge between Ross Cr. and Devine Cr.