Here’s this morning’s report on the Northeast Kootenai Complex fires.
Of greatest interest to North Forkers is the Marston Fire, which made a run to the northeast recently, resulting in a precautionary closure of a section of the Flathead National Forest in the North Fork.
Also see the Northeast Kootenai Complex Proximity to Flathead NF Map for information on the position of the Marston Fire in relation to major North Fork features.
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: Today, fire behavior is expected to decrease with the cold front moving through the area. Strong winds are predicted (gusts to 30+mph), however, temperatures will decrease to the low 60s with relative humidity increasing.
The Marston Fire is estimated at 6,500 acres and containment has dropped back to 5% with the additional growth to the northeast. On the north side of the fire, crews are working in the bottom of Deep Creek preparing fireline and fuel breaks for when the fire backs down to the creek east of Jeager Mine. Nine miles of fuel break from Deep Creek south to near Sink Creek has held and is keeping the fire from moving west, while crews continue preparing line south and east to the Stillwater State Forest. A medium helicopter will be available to drop buckets of water as air/smoke conditions allow to assist firefighters with slowing the fire’s progression. The fire has NOT moved onto the Flathead National Forest and is approximately 20 miles away from Polebridge. Residents who are concerned about the fire are asked to contact the Northeast Kootenai Complex Fire Information Line and stay updated on the incident through the InciWeb site for the Northeast Kootenai Complex.
The Sunday Fire located about four miles southeast of Stryker, MT, is 60 acres with 100% containment and is being patrolled daily to check for hotspots.
The Barnaby Fire is located about four miles northeast of Eureka in steep, rugged terrain. The fire is being monitored from the air with helicopters available to drop water as needed. Fire remains 50 acres, 0% containment.
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES: 300 personnel including 2 Type -1 crews, 4 Type – 2 crews, 10 engines, 3 helicopters (2 Type – 1 Chinooks, 1 Type – 2), 4 dozers, 9 water tenders, and 4 skidgines.
SPECIAL MESSAGES/CLOSURES: There is an area closure for both the Martson and Barnaby Fires. The Martson Fire 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 Marston Fire. A new Area Closure for Hungry Horse Ranger District, Flathead National Forest has been issued. See Inciweb for maps and explanations of closures.
A community meeting will be held this 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”