Here’s this morning’s report on the Northeast Kootenai Complex fore. Of greatest interest to North Forkers is the Marston Fire.
Note this item from the “Special Messages/Closures” section: “A new Area Closure for the Hungry Horse Ranger District, Flathead National Forest is being developed in anticipation of the Marston Fire moving into the area and will be posted on InciWeb when finalized today.” It now appears that Whale Creek Road will, in fact, be closed.
Information Officers: Katie Knotek, Tom Rhode & Meg Nemitz
Fire Information Line: (406) 882-8308
Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
INCIDENT: Northeast Kootenai Complex (includes Barnaby, Marston, and Sunday Fires)
AGENCY JURISDICTION: USDA Forest Service, Kootenai & Flathead National Forests; Montana DNRC, Libby and Stillwater Units.
INCIDENT COMMANDER: Shawn Pearson, Northern Rockies Type II Incident Management Team (IMT). The Incident Command Post (ICP) is located at the Murphy Lake Ranger Station.
WEATHER & FIRE BEHAVIOR: A Red Flag Warning is issued for today due to a break in the valley inversion and smoke cover, continued hot (80s), dry (relative humidity 16-21%) conditions and wind gusts out of the southwest up to 20 mph in the late afternoon. Fire behavior will be active today with short crown runs.
The Marston Fire is estimated at 4,790 acres with 5% containment. The fire increased in size yesterday, but an infrared flight was not available to provide accurate mapping of the current fire perimeter. Fire growth was primarily to the east towards the Flathead National Forest and the Stillwater State Forest. On the north end of the fire, Hotshot crews worked on checking fire spread as it backed downhill, and feller bunchers continued to work on indirect line construction along Deep Creek. These operations will continue today as conditions permit. On the fire’s west side, crews will continue to blacken and secure fireline to the south and check fire spread as it moves downhill. Heavy equipment work constructing fuel breaks south of the fire and east towards the Stillwater State Forest will continue.
The Sunday Fire located about four miles southeast of Stryker, MT, is 60 acres with 100% containment. A Palm IR (Infrared) unit will be used today to check for any remaining hot spots on the fireline. There is no longer a threat of evacuation for local residents in the vicinity of the Sunday Fire and the Population Protection Plan has been removed from Inciweb.
The Barnaby Fire is located about four miles northeast of Eureka in steep, rugged terrain. The fire is being monitored from the air with bucket drops from helicopters when possible. Strong valley inversions and smoke cover have prevented aerial observation and bucket drops on the fire for the last several days. The fire remains 50 acres with 0% containment.
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES: 348 personnel including 3 Type -1 crews, 5 Type – 2 crews, 12 engines,
3 helicopters (2 Type – 1 Chinooks, 1 Type – 2), 6 dozers, 9 water tenders, and 4 skidgines.
SPECIAL MESSAGES/CLOSURES: There is an area closure for both the Martson and Barnaby Fires. The Marston Fire Area Closure includes closure of Murphy Lake for the safety of both firefighting equipment and the public, as helicopters dip out of Murphy Lake for water drops on the Martson Fire. See Inciweb for maps and explanations of these closures. A new Area Closure for the Hungry Horse Ranger District, Flathead National Forest is being developed in anticipation of the Marston Fire moving into the area and will be posted on InciWeb when finalized today.
The Incident Management Team will have a booth at the Lincoln County Fair this weekend. A Community Meeting will be held Sunday evening, August 30, at 7:00 p.m. at the Trego Civic Center.
For more information on the fires, visit: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/; Select “Northeast Kootenai Complex”