Aug 03 2014

Sunday morning update: Hay Creek Complex wildfires

Here’s the latest report from the Forest Service concerning the Hay Creek Complex fires on the North Fork. See the related Inciweb page for further details . . .

Incident Overview

SUMMARY: Multiple fires have started on the Glacier View Ranger District following a series of lightning storms over the five preceding days. A total of 12 fires have started, with 8 current fires, and 4 have been contained and controlled. The fires are being managed as a fire complex. The fires are burning in heavy timber, in steep, rough terrain. The fire behavior is single and group tree torching with occasional spotting. The fire complex consists of a total of 19 acres, with approximately 20% contained. Multiple resources are assigned to the fire including five 20-man crews, 3 helicopters, one Type 6 engine crew, and a local Type 3 management team, for a total of approximately 143 people. These resources are being shared across all the fires in this area. There are no area or trail closures at this time.

Yesterday, the fire area had multiple lightning storms pass over, and 6 new fires started from lightning, in addition to the 3 existing fires. All of the new fires were initial attacked with full suppression strategy. Today, fire fighters will continue with suppression strategy for the fires and continue to be prepared for initial attack on any new fire starts. None of the fires received over night rain that other areas experienced.

SPECIAL MESSAGE: A helibase is set up at Moran Meadows area. These helicopters are shuttling personnel and supplies to and from the fires, as well as providing water drops on the fire. FOR THE YOUR SAFETY AND THE FIRE FIGHTERS SAFETY, PLEASE DO NOT STOP ON THE ROAD WAY OR WALK OUT ON TO THE HELIBASE.

New Start Fires

Link Lake 1 Size: 0.1 acres Location: Lat. 48° 45.822 Long. 114° 34.290 Status: Staffed with 2 fire fighters.

Link Lake 2Size: 0.1 acres Location: Lat. 48° 45.822 Long. 114° 34.134 Status: Staffed with 3 fire fighters.

Mt Young 1Size: 0.25 acres Location: Lat. 48° 48.096 Long. 114° 37.860 Status: Not staffed, but received intense water drops from helicopters.

Mt Young 2Size: 0.25 acres Location: Lat. 48° 47.646 Long. 114° 39.498 Status: Staffed with 8 fire fighters.

StonySize: 0.25 acres Location: Lat. 48° 47.556 Long. 114° 34.218 Status: Staffed with 2 fire fighters.

Antley CreekSize: 0.1 acres Location: Lat. 48° 54.852 Long. 114° 34.410 Status: Contained and controlled.


Akinkoka, Hay Creek, and Mathias Fires

UPDATE: On all of the fires, fire line has been fully constructed, and mop up work is continuing which is very difficult due to steep, rough terrain. Some fire fighters have been released from these fires in order to staff new start fires in the area.


Basic Information

Current as of 8/3/2014, 9:48:29 AM
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Tuesday July 29th, 2014 approx. 05:00 PM
Location Various locations east of Whitefish Divide and west of the North Fork of the Flathead River.
Incident Commander Justin Kaber, Flathead National Forest

Current Situation

Total Personnel 145
Size 19 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 20%
Fuels Involved Heavy timber, in steep, rough terrain.


Planned Actions Full suppression tactics with fire fighters and helicopters working on the fires.
Projected Incident Activity Full suppression tactics with fire fighters and helicopters working on the fires.


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Aug 02 2014

Forest Service continues to fight several wildfires on the North Fork

The newspapers aren’t giving the North Fork’s “Hay Creek Complex” wildfires much attention, but there’s lots of radio traffic.

Here’s what seems to be going on…

The first clutch of fires, including the Akinkoka, Mathias and Hay Creek #1 and #2 blazes, are under control. The Tuchuck, Moose Creek and the Johnson Creek Fires have all been “controlled and contained.” However, yesterday’s storms have triggered several new fires that are generating a lot of chatter today. None of these new fires are very big — maybe a couple of acres worst case — but they are attracting aggressive suppression efforts:

  • Young Mountain #1 and #2 on the slopes above Shorty Creek, SSW of Young Mountain;
  • the Stony Fire, presumably near Stony Basin Lake, north of Lake Mountain;
  • the Link Lake #1 and #2 fires, probably NW of Link Mountain;
  • the Antley Creek Fire is a very small blaze near a ridge top SE of Antley Creek.

The Forest Service has a helibase operating from Moran Meadow, south of Polebridge. Please don’t stop or walk out there for a closer look. Those folks are kind of busy right now.

There are officially no trail closures.

Please read the morning fire report for more information and background. I will post the evening report as soon as it becomes available.

The Inciweb page for this set of fires is also updated regularly.

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Jul 31 2014

Lightening triggers four wildfires in the North Fork, a couple in Glacier Park

It seems the North Fork actually picked up four lightening-triggered wildfires during last Tuesday’s storms, with three still burning. The active fires are the Akinkoka Fire in the Moose Creek drainage and the Hay Creek No. 1 and Hay Creek No. 2 blazes near the west end of the Hay Creek drainage. The Forest Service seems to have turned most of its attention to the Hay Creek fires now after expending considerable resources on the Akinkoka Fire yesterday.

Glacier Park had two, only one of which — a small fire near Bowman Road — is still active, but nearly contained.

The Hungry Horse News has additional information . . .

The Flathead National Forest reports that a Type 3 management team has taken over responsibility for several wildfires that have been burning up the North Fork since a lightning storm passed through on July 29.

The fires are being collectively called the Hay Creek Complex and for now include fires from the Canada Border to the Coal Creek State Forest, between the Whitefish Divide and the North Fork Road.

Altogether, the Forest Service is using a Type 1 helicopter, two Type 2 helicopters and a Type 3 helicopter along with single engine air tankers to douse the fires.

Read more . . .

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Jul 31 2014

Wildfire Information Page updated

The website’s Wildfire Information Page encountered some link rot this year. We’ve fixed the worst of it.

Enjoy . . .

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Jul 31 2014

Akinkoka Fire getting plenty of attention

Forest Service crews and air support hit the Akinkoka Fire (the one up Moose Creek) pretty hard yesterday and have more assets scheduled today. Fire extent is on the order of 10-20 acres on steep, rugged terrain. The fire retardant dropped yesterday was still holding back the fire this morning. Ground crews and aircraft continue to work on the Akinkoka Fire as this message is posted.

No one seems as excited about the pair of small fires near the end of the Hay Creek drainage (the two are quite close together). There are people scheduled to be on that fire complex this morning.

Possible smoke was reported up the Red Meadow drainage late yesterday, but nothing was located by aircraft or ground personnel.

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Jul 30 2014

Area fire danger ‘high'; two fires on North Fork

Two lightening-caused fires kindled on the North Fork today, July 30. One up the Moose Creek drainage, the Akinkoka Fire, is being attacked aggressively. Another smaller, as yet unnamed, fire burning in heavy timber toward the upper reaches of the Hay Creek Drainage, should see action from fire crews tomorrow.

In general, fire danger is now considered high throughout the entire valley . . .

Local fire managers have moved the fire danger to “high” based on current and expected weather conditions.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation announced the heightened fire danger Wednesday. No fire restrictions are in place at this time. Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service announced that dry lightning on Tuesday night caused four small fires on the Flathead National Forest. Two of the fires are along the North Fork of the Flathead River and another is north of Whitefish Lake.

Temperatures are forecasted to be in the 80s to 90s with the potential for lightning associated with afternoon thunderstorms. Hot, dry, and breezy conditions will continue to dry fine forest fuels such as grasses and brush that will then be more likely to catch fire.

Read more . . .

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Jul 30 2014

Flathead Forest hosting open house sessions on vegetation modeling use in forest planning

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

The Flathead National Forest is offering a couple of open house sessions on their vegetation modeling process. This is one of the tools they use as part of their forest management and planning process . . .

The Flathead National Forest is hosting two open house sessions in August on the topic of Use of Vegetation Modeling in Forest Planning. The first open house will be on Tuesday, August 12, 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Flathead National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, Montana. The same material will be presented the following evening, Wednesday, August 13, 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Swan Ecosystem Center in Condon.

Members of the forest plan revision team, including the silviculturist, wildlife biologist, and Regional analyst will provide information, present some preliminary outputs, and answer questions about the computer-based analytical modeling processes being used to evaluate vegetation conditions across the forest over time as it responds to various disturbances, such as fire or harvest.

Read more . . .

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Jul 30 2014

Montana FWP doing fish habitat project in North Fork

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is doing restoration work along the south fork of Coal Creek . . .

A fish habitat enhancement project is underway in the South Fork Coal Creek drainage, a tributary to the North Fork Flathead River that was degraded by historical land management practices, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

More than two dozen large woody structures are being incorporated into the stream channel to create spawning and rearing habitat for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

Read more . . .

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Jul 29 2014

Idaho suspends use of hired wolf hunter in Frank Church Wilderness

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has declared a temporary truce over its practice of using a hired hunter to kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Yep, that’s right: A state-sponsored wolf hunt in a big “W” wilderness area. You just can’t make this stuff up . . .

Idaho Fish and Game officials say they’re suspending a plan to use a hired hunter to kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness until at least November 2015.

Jeff Gould, wildlife bureau chief for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, made the declaration in a document filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

A coalition of wildlife advocacy groups sued the state and federal officials in federal court earlier this year, asking a judge to stop a state-hired hunter from using the U.S. Forest Service’s backcountry airstrips to reach and kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return wilderness. A federal judge rejected their request for a temporary restraining order, but state officials pulled the hunter out of the region after he killed nine wolves.

Read more . . .

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Jul 26 2014

Today! The second ‘Missing Piece Rendezvous’ comes to the North Fork, July 26

The North Fork Preservation Association annual meeting is on Saturday, July 26, featuring Canadian activist Harvey Locke speaking on “The Missing Piece of Waterton National Park.” He is a charismatic orator who thinks in large landscapes. Harvey begins his talk at 7:30 p.m. The potluck dinner starts at 5:00 p.m., followed by the business meeting. For more information call 406-888-5084.

John Frederick wrote the following article about this year’s presentation. It appears in the current NFPA newsletter . . .

The “Missing Piece” refers to the area north of us known as the Flathead of British Columbia (in Canada, the North Fork Flathead is called just the Flathead River). The region east of the river is a logical extension to the existing Waterton Lakes National Park on the other side of the Continental Divide in Alberta. The first “Missing Piece Rendezvous” was at Waterton town site last fall to a large crowd of happy people.

The second “Missing Piece Rendezvous” will be held on the porch of the North Fork Community Hall featuring Harvey Locke and Sid Marty at 7:30 pm on Saturday, July 26. Both are engaging entertainers. Bring folding chairs or a blanket and bug dope, if needed.

NFPA 2014 Annual Meeting Announcement

NFPA 2014 Annual Meeting Announcement

Harvey Locke does not give up easily. This well-known Canadian activist has been trying to have the part of the Flathead of British Columbia that is above Glacier National Park added to Waterton National Park for over twenty years.

I met him 25 years ago on a Waterton-Glacier Superintendents’ Hike and remember him talking in French to a warden in Waterton Park, demonstrating to me his appealing personality (even though I didn’t know French). I marked him as someone unique although I knew nothing about him at the time.

Harvey Locke is recognized as a global leader in the conservation of wilderness and large landscapes. He is known in Canada as one of the leading conservation activists there. He thinks about large landscapes – the movement to establish wildlife corridors from Yellowstone to Yukon was his idea. Harvey has many conservation groups in place on both sides of the border to back up what he says and when he says something it has authority. His connections to powerful individuals are truly amazing. He makes things happen. Continue Reading »

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