Northeast Kootenai Complex morning update – Aug 31, 8:30 am

Marston Fire August 17, 2015
Marston Fire August 17, 2015

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. The cooler, wetter weather that moved into the area has made life easier for crews fighting this blaze. It is still not anywhere close to 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: Weather today will be cloudy with maximum temperatures 57 to 65 F, relative humidity 45 to 52%, and southwest winds 2 to 8 mph. Based on these conditions, moderate fire behavior is expected. On the Marston Fire, fire will continue the slow process of backing downhill toward Deep Creek on the North and Sink Creek on the South.

The Marston Fire is estimated at 6,700 acres with 15% containment. On the North side of the fire, crews are working in the bottom of Deep Creek preparing fireline and fuel breaks in preparation for the fire backing 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. On the south side of the fire, excavators are being used to pile logs along the indirect line that runs south and east to the Stillwater State Forest. A Montana National Guard Chinook helicopter and a medium helicopter will be available with water drops to assist firefighters with cooling hot spots along the fire’s edge. 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: 285 personnel including 2 Type -1 crews, 4 Type – 2 crews, 6 engines,
2 helicopters (1 Type – 1 Chinook, 1 Type – 2), 2 dozers, 5 water tenders, and 4 skidlines.

SPECIAL MESSAGES/CLOSURES: There are Area Closures on the Fortine Ranger District, Kootenai National Forest, for both the Martson and Barnaby Fires. The Marston Fire Area Closure includes closure of Murphy Lake for the safety of firefighting equipment and the public, as helicopters dip water out of the lake. There is an additional Area Closure for the Marston Fire on the Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger District, Flathead National Forest, should the fire move into the area. See Inciweb for maps and explanations of closures.

For more information on the fires, visit:; Select “Northeast Kootenai Complex”