Wildfire season comes to the Flathead National Forest

The Forest Service is dealing with two lightning-triggered fires in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Here’s the official press release . . .

Fire managers on the Flathead National Forest are managing two fires on the Spotted Bear Ranger District. Both are believed to have been started by lightning strikes from the storm that passed through the area on August 11, 2013. Both are in the Bob Marshall Wilderness area and will be managed so they can play their natural role in the wilderness while providing for public and firefighter safety and protecting values at risk.

The Snow Creek fire is burning about 20 acres and is located up the Snow Creek Drainage. The fire is close enough to Black Bear Cabin that fire fighters are starting to implement structure protection, but there is no immediate threat. There may be some future impacts to the trails in the area depending on where the fire grows.

The Damnation fire is covering more than 150 acres and is growing to the east and north-east. This fire could impact trail access as well. Managers are working to keep area trails open with crews on the ground to observe fire location and behavior; however trail closures to ensure public safety may occur as fire conditions dictate.

Growth is expected today, August 16, 2013, as the weather forecast calls for high temperatures, low relative humidity and wind. Please contact the Spotted Bear Ranger District before heading into these areas to ensure you have the latest information on conditions: 406-758-5376.

As firefighting resources are needed to respond to natural wildfires it becomes even more important for everyone to thoughtful and careful in their use of fire in the forest. The forest is not currently in fire restricts, but the fire danger is high in the Flathead Valley, meaning a small spark or an unattended fire of any kind can start a wildfire and it could quickly spread.