Sep 12 2014

U.S. FWS awards $2M for easement on grizzly & lynx habitat on Stoltze land

Published by under Environmental Issues,News

This short write-up on the acquisition of a conservation easement on F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber land belies a great deal of behind the scenes work over the past few years . . .

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded the state of Montana $2 million to aid in the acquisition of a conservation easement on Haskill Basin near Whitefish.

The 3,000-acre-plus property, located next to Whitefish Mountain Resort, is the source of 75 percent of Whitefish’s municipal water supply and vital habitat for grizzly bears and Canada lynx.

F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. owns the property.

Read more . . .

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Sep 10 2014

Rally to protect public lands from privatization

Legislatures, both state and federal, have a long history of giving serious consideration to bad ideas. The latest in the list as far as Montana is concerned is the movement to demand that federal lands be turned over to state control. The states, in turn, would auction management of these lands off to private control.

Yep, that’s right. They’re talking about privatizing your public lands. Someone has been smoking that wacky terbaccy, I guess.

There are several things you can do about this.

  • Get hold of your local state senator and representative and explain that you really don’t like the idea of giving away to private ownership the lands where you work and recreate.
  • Read John Gatchell’s excellent “Public Lands in Private Hands?” article. Follow the links and instructions he provides to comment on the spurious land privatization “study” the legislature has posted for public comment. The deadline for comments is September 16.
  • The Montana Wilderness Association (who has really taken the point on this land privatization issue), along with a bunch of other organizations, is holding a rally in Helena on September 27, which just happens to be both National Public Lands Day and National Hunting and Fishing Day. Show up and help folks explain to our legislature that giving away our public lands to private concerns is a Really Bad Idea. For more information, see the National Public Lands Day Rally Facebook page.

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Aug 10 2014

North Fork Compact annual meeting Aug 11, 8pm

Published by under News

The North Fork Compact was the first serious effort, dating back to the 60’s,  to deal with issues of excessive commercial development and subdivision on the North Fork.

Their annual meeting will be held Monday, August 11, 8:00 p.m., at Sondreson Hall.

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Aug 05 2014

‘Hay Creek Complex’ fires winding down; handed off to local personnel

The Forest Service issued their last press release on the “Hay Creek Complex” wildfires today, handing off control to local personnel . . .

On 8/5/14 at 8:00 PM, the Hay Creek Complex will be turned over to the Glacier View/Hungry Horse Ranger District managers who will continue with any patrol. Any questions or concerns, please contact the Flathead National Forest GVHH District Office in Hungry Horse at (406) 387-3867.

Read the complete press release for more details.

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Aug 04 2014

Monday update: Hay Creek Complex wildfires

Here’s the latest report from the Forest Service concerning the Hay Creek Complex fires on the North Fork. It was posted at about 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4. 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 5 current fires, and 7 have been contained and controlled. The fires are being managed as a fire complex. The fires had burned in heavy timber, in steep, rough terrain. The fire behavior is small smokes in some of the duff on the forest floor. The fire complex consists of a total of 23 acres, with approximately 50% contained. Multiple resources are assigned to the fire including four 20-man crews, 3 helicopters, one Type 6 engine crew, and a local Type 3 management team, for a total of approximately 123 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, but no new fires were started. Today, fire fighters will continue with mop up and patrol of the two larger fires, Akinkoka and Hay Creek Fires. Fire fighters and helicopters not needed will be demobilzed and made available for other fires in the region.

SPECIAL MESSSAGE: 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.

 

Basic Information

Current as of 8/4/2014, 12:25:33 PM
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 123
Size 23 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 50%
Fuels Involved Heavy timber, in steep, rough terrain.

 

Outlook

Planned Actions Continue with mop up and patrolling of the two remaining fires, Akinkoka and Hay Creek Fires. Demobilize the fire fighters and helicopters not needed.
Projected Incident Activity Continue with mop up and patrolling of the two remaining fires, Akinkoka and Hay Creek Fires. Demobilize the fire fighters and helicopters not needed.

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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.

Outlook

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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