It seems the North Fork actually picked up four lightening-triggered wildfires during last Tuesday’s storms, with three still burning. The active fires are the Akinkoka Fire in the Moose Creek drainage and the Hay Creek No. 1 and Hay Creek No. 2 blazes near the west end of the Hay Creek drainage. The Forest Service seems to have turned most of its attention to the Hay Creek fires now after expending considerable resources on the Akinkoka Fire yesterday.
Glacier Park had two, only one of which — a small fire near Bowman Road — is still active, but nearly contained.
The Hungry Horse News has additional information . . .
The Flathead National Forest reports that a Type 3 management team has taken over responsibility for several wildfires that have been burning up the North Fork since a lightning storm passed through on July 29.
The fires are being collectively called the Hay Creek Complex and for now include fires from the Canada Border to the Coal Creek State Forest, between the Whitefish Divide and the North Fork Road.
Altogether, the Forest Service is using a Type 1 helicopter, two Type 2 helicopters and a Type 3 helicopter along with single engine air tankers to douse the fires.
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Forest Service crews and air support hit the Akinkoka Fire (the one up Moose Creek) pretty hard yesterday and have more assets scheduled today. Fire extent is on the order of 10-20 acres on steep, rugged terrain. The fire retardant dropped yesterday was still holding back the fire this morning. Ground crews and aircraft continue to work on the Akinkoka Fire as this message is posted.
No one seems as excited about the pair of small fires near the end of the Hay Creek drainage (the two are quite close together). There are people scheduled to be on that fire complex this morning.
Possible smoke was reported up the Red Meadow drainage late yesterday, but nothing was located by aircraft or ground personnel.
Two lightening-caused fires kindled on the North Fork today, July 30. One up the Moose Creek drainage, the Akinkoka Fire, is being attacked aggressively. Another smaller, as yet unnamed, fire burning in heavy timber toward the upper reaches of the Hay Creek Drainage, should see action from fire crews tomorrow.
In general, fire danger is now considered high throughout the entire valley . . .
Local fire managers have moved the fire danger to “high” based on current and expected weather conditions.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation announced the heightened fire danger Wednesday. No fire restrictions are in place at this time. Meanwhile, the U.S. Forest Service announced that dry lightning on Tuesday night caused four small fires on the Flathead National Forest. Two of the fires are along the North Fork of the Flathead River and another is north of Whitefish Lake.
Temperatures are forecasted to be in the 80s to 90s with the potential for lightning associated with afternoon thunderstorms. Hot, dry, and breezy conditions will continue to dry fine forest fuels such as grasses and brush that will then be more likely to catch fire.
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