Here’s the morning update for the Thompson-Divide Complex fires, including the Granite, Sheep and Thompson fires.
The recent, cool, damp weather is really taking effect. The Sheep Fire, which triggered an evacuation order for Essex a few days ago has laid down considerably. The Essex evacuation order is now lifted and travel on U.S. Route 2 through the area is back to normal, no longer controlled with pilot cars.
Crews are demobilizing. Fire management is being turned over to Glacier Park and the Flathead National Forest.
Fire Information: (406) 387-4854/ (406) 314-1669, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Fire Complex Completed: 38%
Resources – Total Personnel: 213 Injuries: 1 Structures Lost: None
20-Person Hand Crews: 2 Type-1 and 1 Type-2 Air Support: Helicopters (2 Type-1 & 2 Type-3), Engines: 4
Cause of Fires: All three fires have been determined to be lightning caused.
The Thompson-Divide Complex consists of the Sheep and Granite Fires in the Flathead National Forest and the Thompson Fire in Glacier National Park. The Sheep Fire is the incident priority due to its proximity to US Hwy. 2, BNSF railway and the community of Essex. Crews and equipment will continue to demobilize today. Today there will be rehabilitation efforts on all three fires. The camp crew has rolled up over 9 miles of hose line so far from the three fires.
The evacuation order for the Essex area will lift today at 8:00 am. For more information, call the Flathead County Office of Emergency Services at (406) 758-2111.
The pilot car escort will end today at 8:00 am, with unrestricted travel on U.S. Highway 2. Motorists are cautioned to drive carefully because of fire traffic along this route. For current road status, call 511 or visit http://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/alerts.shtml.
Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for the area. Visit http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/ for air quality info.
Closures are in effect for some trails and areas in the vicinity of the fires. As of Sept 1 all of the trails in the Two Medicine and Cutbank Valley are open, including the Dawson-Pitamakan Loop. The Cutbank Pass and Nyack area trails remain closed for visitor safety. For more information on Glacier NP closures, please see http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm or call 405-888-7800. An area closure around the Sheep and Granite fires on the Flathead National Forest is in effect. Call Hungry Horse Ranger District (406) 387-3800 or go to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/4468/28364/ for details.
There is a 60% chance of showers this Friday afternoon with temperatures around 51-56. The humidity is expected to be 55-60. Winds will be 5-10 mph with 15 mph gusts. Continued minimal fire activity through the weekend is expected due to wet, cool weather and increased fuel moisture.
Sheep Fire, Flathead National Forest
Approximate Size: 2,171 acres Structures Lost: None
Fire Update: The Sheep Fire is on the Flathead National Forest and burning in very steep terrain with limited access. The fire is about 1 mile south of Essex and about 1/8 mile from the train tracks between Tank Creek and McDonald Creek. The fire showed little activity again yesterday. Structural protection measures have been removed. Crews will continue to monitor and haul out equipment. The team will begin to rehabilitate fire lines and other disturbed areas around the Sheep Fire.
Granite Fire, Flathead National Forest
Approximate Size: 913 acres
Fire Update: The Granite Fire is located west of Marias Pass and south of U.S. Hwy. 2. The fire started in the Great Bear Wilderness and has moved north out of the Wilderness. There has been little fire activity the past few days. One engine and crew are using existing roads to monitor the fire’s activity. Excess equipment is being hauled out.
Thompson Fire, Glacier National Park
Approximate Size: 18,847 acres Structures Lost: None
Fire Update: The Thompson Fire is located in remote southern backcountry of Glacier National Park about 15 miles east of the West Glacier entrance in the Thompson and Nyack drainages west of the Continental Divide. Aircraft will continue to monitor the fire.
Most of Glacier National Park is unaffected by this wildfire complex and is available for recreational use. The Thompson Fire has not impacted park roads. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open.