UPDATE: Thunderstorms Spark Several New Fires Overnight
While firefighters are generally having success in their efforts to contain and control more than a dozen wildfires across the state, Mother Nature has started another handful over the past few days, including one that has led to homes being evacuated near Helena. Here are the latest reports from Inciweb, the interagency wildfire database:
QUARTZ FIRE - The Quartz Fire in Glacier National Park settled down some yesterday due to slightly cooler temperatures and scattered rain. No significant growth was observed, so the fire remains 1,678 acres. Nine firefighters, known as a Wildland Fire Module, arrived to assist with management of the Quartz Fire. They will relieve Glacier National Park firefighters who had been assigned to the fire, freeing them to respond to any new fires detected from recent lighting. An additional engine with six firefighters has also arrived to assist with future initial attack needs.
WEST FLATTOP FIRE - Firefighters were successful in suppressing the West Flattop Fire at less than an acre. Three Glacier National Park firefighters were flown into the fire on Monday and contained the fire by late afternoon.
RISING MOON FIRE - 40 residents near Canyon Ferry Lake were asked to evacuate their homes early this morning, as the Rising Moon Fire, which began about 9:30pm Monday evening, has grown to 200 acres. The Helena Independent Record has posted some photos from the scene.
REVAIS FIRE - A lightning strike from a weekend thunderstorm is blamed for a 15-acre fire burning 4 miles west of Dixon. This fire is located in very steep, rocky, rugged terrain. 24 firefighters 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. Water drops will also be used to slow this fire.
SULLIVAN FIRE - Crews have already encircled an 80-acre fire 13 miles North of Hot Springs. Water drops are being used to suppress the fire in grassy areas, while ground crews work to secure the control lines and put 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.
SUTTON FIRE - Great progress has been made by firefighters and crews managing the Sutton fire, 13 MILES southeast of Eureka. The lightning-caused fire is still holding at 108 acres and is estimated at 75% contained. It
still has an opening to move to the south due to inaccessible steep, rocky terrain.
HOG TROUGH FIRE - Fire behavior on the 1718-acre Hog Trough Fire was minimal yesterday due to cooler temperatures, scattered precipitation, and higher humidity levels. 173 firefighters are on the scene, working to steer the fire to the south and east, through previously burned areas where there are fewer values at risk. If conditions allow, firing operations will occur along the Signal Rock Trail in order to widen the fuel break and halt fire progression.