UPDATE: New Fires Reported in Glacier Park and the Bob
EUREKA -- Incident command hadn't posted an update on the Weasel Fire for over a week, but the fire is still active along the US/Canada border 14 miles NE of Eureka. The fire covers 2450 acres on the Montana side of the border, and 2694 acres in British Columbia, for a total of 5144 acres. Fire behavior is described as "minimal" as it continues to smolder and creep with some single tree torching.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK -- A backdoor cold front Thursday brought a wind shift out of the northeast with cool and moist air slowing but not extinguishing activity on both the Quartz and North Camas Fires.
The Quartz Fire continued to show activity and perimeter growth along the southwest edge on Wednesday and Thursday. Group tree torching and intermittent uphill runs were visible as the fire continues to consume dead and down heavy fuels. The Quartz Fire is estimated to be 1981 acres as of Friday morning. A squad remains staged at the Quartz Lake Cabin reinforcing structure protection and patrolling the Quartz Fire throughout the weekend.
The North Camas Fire continues to put up intermittent smoke and slowly spread along a steep slope above Camas Creek. A portion of the fire has been visible from The Loop area of Going-to-the-Sun Road. The North Camas Fire is burning in very steep, inaccessible terrain and is estimated at 20 acres. The fire is not currently threatening any structures, park resources, nor the public.
The Flat Mineral Fire, located in the Flattop Mountain area above Mineral Creek in Glacier National Park showed activity Tuesday night with one isolated area of heat. It remains at 0.1 acre.
A new wildland fire was reported in the Coal Creek drainage in the southern section of Glacier National Park on Wednesday afternoon. Immediate suppression actions were taken on the Coal Creek Fire due to its proximity to the historic Coal Creek Patrol Cabin. A Forest Service helicopter assisted with water drops and Glacier National Park firefighters hiked in to suppress the fire on the ground. The fire was estimated at 1.25 acres. The Coal Creek Fire is 100% contained as of Thursday evening.
BOB MARSHALL WILDERNESS -- The George Lake Fire was detected on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022. It is burning on the bottom of the slope at the northeast end of George Lake. The fire is estimated at 527 acres as of this morning. The Spotted Bear Ranger District will continue to monitor the fire with reconnaissance and Infrared (IR) Mapping flights as resources allow. Due to the rocky terrain and lack of available fuels, no other actions are planned at this time.
The Ursus Fire is still listed at 1,824 acres. It was originally reported that the fire crossed the Continental Divide on the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest near Observation Pass, but a reconnaissance flight from the Rocky Mountain Ranger District on Wednesday determined there was no observable fire east of the divide. On Thursday, the fire reached the top of Ursus Hill and made uphill runs between Sugarloaf and Fiction Creeks. Spot fires have been observed in the Spring Creek drainage. The Ursus Fire has has reached the 2012 Elbow Pass burn scar which should act as a buffer to slow the spread of the fire to the east. New acreage will be updated as soon as it is available.
A cold front moved into the Bob Marshall Wilderness on Thursday, bringing higher relative humidity and cooler temperatures, with a good chance of rain at times through Saturday, 9/10/22. While not a season-ending event, it may help settle the five fires burning in the Bob.
The 1872-acre Cannon Fire, which is located 15 miles northeast of Condon continues to burn 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 fire is most active along the western flank near the bowls below Swan Mountain. There is a significant fire history in the surrounding area that will affect fire spread.
The Highrock Fire is burning on the south facing slope near the top of the ridge that divides Highrock Creek from Little Salmon Creek. The small fire has been quiet.
The Dean Creek Fire, 30 miles east of Swan Lake, has been holding at 483 acres since Wednesday morning.
MARION -- The lightning-caused Lemonade Fire has grown to 645 acres on the Flathead National Forest, 21 miles west of Kalispell. As of Friday morning, ncident command reports 15% containment, with extensive use of heavy equipment backed up by hand crews. A secondary cold front pushing through the area has lowered temperatures, moderating fire behavior. In addition, the northeast to east wind shift today will help push the fire back into itself on the northwest side. However, the southwest perimeter is of some concern with the wind direction change and the heavy fuels there.
From the southeast corner moving north, crews continue to put in fireline with heavy equipment, and hand crews are putting in hoses to use water for mopping up the fire's edge.
Yesterday the equipment line was constructed off the ridge on the northeast side to get around several spot fires. A helicopter dropped water to cool these spots. On the north, a type 2 initial attack crew is looking for opportunities to fight the fire directly. Equipment operators will work to get a line around the northern point.
Equipment operators are putting in a machine line on the west perimeter. Another type 2 initial attack crew is working in a plantation on the northwest side, laying hoses to use water to back up the machine line.
On the southwest perimeter, equipment operators are using feller bunchers to construct machine lines. Crews will grid for and extinguish hot spots on the south. Additionally, a felling module will address hazard trees so hand crews and engines can work safely.
HELMVILLE -- The Murray Fire, 12 miles southwest of Helmville in Powell County is now estimated at 65 acres, and 195 firefighters are on the scene, fighting the fire with water drops to slow the growth and provide a safe anchor for ground crews to construct fire line and safely extinguish the fire. There are no evacuations in effect, and roads in the fire area are open to local traffic only for firefighter and public safety.
LIBBY -- 153 Firefighters are battling a group of four wildfires in the Kootenai National Forest, which total 1790 acres, and together make up the Bull Gin Complex. On Thursday evening, issued a pre-evacuation order for residents along Government Mountain Road and Timber Ridge Road.
The Government Fire is 2 miles northeast of Noxon. The fire is high on a ridge, and burning understory has been rolling downhill igniting fuels below. Fire movement on the Government Fire will continue back down slope into Government Creek on the west side and Rock Creek drainage on the east side. Helicopters are dropping water on the NE corner, trying to keep the fire out of Miller Gulch. On the ground, crews continue construction of a shaded fuel break along road 150 to the Government Creek crossing. The Government Fire is highly visible from highway 200.
Two miles northeast of Heron, the Billiard Fire and the North Star Fire have merged. Both fires are highly visible from highway 56 and highway 200. The fires are backing down the slopes of Fatman Road with uphill runs. Billiard Fire will remain active on the north, south, and west flank. Structure protection is in place where accessible.
The Isabella Lake Fire is 125 acres, and is in rough inaccessible terrain in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.
MISSOULA -- Within its 1,400-acre perimeter, the Boulder Lake Fire is burning inconsistently and with varying levels of intensity including moderately-severely burned areas and areas that burned in a mosaic pattern. Yesterday evening, wind-driven fire growth predominantly occurred to the east and northeast, pushing the fire into the Liberty Fire burn scar (2017) and into islands of unburned fuel. Observed fire behavior within the Liberty Fire burned area has been moderate to minimal.
While most of the fire is still located within the Rattlesnake Wilderness, the fire has pushed out of the Wilderness boundary on the east and southeastern flanks and onto Lolo National Forest lands under MT DNRC protection jurisdiction. Due to this, the Forest Service, and partners at the MT DNRC, will be entering into a Unified Command structure and delegating management of the fire to a Type 3 Incident Commander.
Fire managers will utilize a confine and contain suppression strategy to engage the southeast and eastern flanks of the fire, outside of the Wilderness boundary. Containment opportunities in these areas will be assessed and utilized which may include existing burn areas, natural barriers, and existing road systems.
Today, two MT DNRC engines are operating in the Gold Creek Trailhead area, northeast of the main fire, working on finding and extinguishing spot fires. A helicopter will also be used to check the fire spread along the south and southeastern flank of the fire which is currently where the fire is most active, exhibiting creeping, smoldering and isolated torching behavior.
MONARCH -- The Deep Creek Fire, in the northeast corner of the Little Belt Mountains, has been downsized from 75 acres to 37 acres, and is 70% contained.
SULA -- The Trail Ridge Fire is currently assessed to be approximately 13.5 acres, burning about 0.25 miles away from the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), between Gibbons Pass and the Hogan Trail. Fire Crews are working to identify potential control locations in the difficult terrain utilizing natural barriers, existing trails, and roads.
The fire is burning in a remote, rugged area of the 2000 Mussigbrod Fire burned area, with abundant standing dead trees and heavy ground fuels, as a result of that incident. There is a large amount of deadfall on the ground with numerous snags throughout the area, making it unsafe for firefighters to tackle it head-on. Lookouts are being utilized to monitor the fire. Crews are looking for options in case the fire moves closer to private lands.
The same command team is overseeing the Thompson Creek Fire, which is burning on 85 acres near Mystic Lake. Crews on the fire have completed line with a hose lay including sprinklers around the perimeter. They also have improved the line to 10 feet on 70% of the perimeter.
MISSOULA -- The Solomon Fire is burning on 350 acres southeast of Missoula, MT in the Welcome Creek Wilderness on the Missoula Ranger District. It is located approximately 6 miles south of Interstate 90/Rock Creek Exit #126, near Solomon Mountain.
The location of the fire is in steep and thickly timbered terrain with snags, or hazard trees, making up about half of the standing fuel and is surrounded to the south, east, and west by the 2007 Sawmill Fire burned area.. Fire growth has been observed primarily on the north side of Solomon Mountain slowly moving to the north and east.
Helicopters are being used, as needed, to check fire spread. Firefighters are actively patrolling the Rock Creek corridor and remaining vigilant of changing conditions.
Steady growth and moderate-active fire behavior has been observed primarily on the eastern flank of the fire. Afternoon winds have pushed the fire toward the east to the top of a ridgeline (at the top of Mecca Gulch). Yesterday, a helicopter was used to check fire spread on the eastern flank of the fire to prevent fire growth over the ridge.
Firefighters are monitoring the fire via air and from vantage points on the ground.