Date: September 8, 2015 Contact: Lisa Osborn , 406-295-7558 Contact: Jeff Stevenson , 406-283-7795
Northern Rockies Coordination Group Kalispell Area Interagency News Release
Libby,MT.—All Fire Restrictions will be rescinded across North West Montana.Jurisdictions include:
Flathead National Forest
Kootenai National Forest
Bob Marshall Wilderness Lands within the Flathead National Forest
Glacier National Park
U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service
MT-DNRC Northwestern Land Office
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 1
Counties:Flathead, Lake (outside of Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe), Lincoln, and Sanders
On most of the jurisdiction listed above all fire restrictions have been rescinded effective immediately. The Flathead County Commissioners will meet on Thursday to decide whether to rescind restrictions in Flathead County. [they did – editor]
Please remember that even though fire restrictions have been rescinded fire season is still active. There are many fires burning in the area so you may still see smoke and flames within fire areas. There are many fire area closures please call your local Forest Service, DNRC or county fire department office for more information. Remember that you must stay out of closure areas until the closure is lifted by the land management agency.
At this time no open burning is allowed.
As hunting season begins, land managers want to remind hunters to practice wildfire safety while enjoying the outdoors. The Kalispell area fire restrictions group isurging caution for those participating in hunting and other outdoor activities to avoid sparking a fire. Just one small spark/ember from an unattended warming fire, muzzle of a gun or a hot exhaust pipe on a vehicle can ignite the dry grass.Please refrain from building campfires/warming fires during windy or dry conditio.
With that in mind, here are a few suggestions to avoid sparking a wildfire:
Keep water nearby when welding on stands.
When shooting close to the ground, be sure there is no dry grass or tinder in front of your muzzle. Though rare, it’s not impossible for a shot to ignite a fire.
Use properly maintained spark arresters on all power equipment.
Never leave a campfire or warming fire unattended, even for a few minutes. Be sure to completely extinguish campfires/warming fires when ready to go.
Keep a bucket, a shovel and a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and at your camp.
Be aware of area fire restrictions.
Be mindful of where you drive or park and stay on designated trails. Avoid parking on dry brush or grass, since your exhaust system can ignite the vegetation.
Please keep wildfire safety in mind and have a safe and memorable hunting experience.
In case it you missed it in this morning’s Kootenai fire complex report, the North Fork area closure in the Flathead Forest and the Grave Creek/10 Lakes area closure in the Kootenai Forest have been rescinded. The Forest Service is no longer worried about the Marston Fire making a run toward the North Fork. Also, Trail Creek Road is open again all the way through. Looks like the cool, damp weather is really helping.
Rain and cooler weather has let fire crews make some progress against many area wildfires . . .
Substantial rainfall — at least by parched Northwest Montana standards — has dampened area wildfire activity.
The changing weather and slowing fire activity have allowed evacuation orders to be lifted in the Essex, Noxon and Libby areas.
On the 6,810-acre Northeast Kootenai Complex, which is almost entirely composed of the 6,700-acre Marston Fire east of Fortine, opportunistic firefighters were leaping at the chance to corral the blaze.
Here’s a quick afternoon summary of the wildfire situation in this end of Montana . . .
Another warm, windy day challenged crews battling numerous wildfires in western Montana and brought more evacuations Saturday.
About 20 residences in rural areas south of Libby were told to evacuate Saturday morning because of one of several fires burning in the Kootenai National Forest, fire spokeswoman Jennifer McCully said.
Fire managers were asking for more firefighters, but prospects for help were uncertain Saturday afternoon, McCully said.
URGENT - FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MISSOULA MT
1033 AM MDT FRI AUG 28 2015
FLATHEAD/GLACIER PARK-SALISH AND KOOTENAI RESERVATION-EAST LOLO-
1033 AM MDT FRI AUG 28 2015
...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM SATURDAY TO MIDNIGHT MDT
SATURDAY NIGHT FOR GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES ACROSS THE
FLATHEAD/GLACIER PARK...SALISH AND KOOTENAI RESERVATION...EAST
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MISSOULA HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG
WARNING FOR GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES...WHICH IS IN EFFECT
FROM 2 PM SATURDAY TO MIDNIGHT MDT SATURDAY NIGHT. THE FIRE
WEATHER WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* WINDS: SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST INCREASING TO 25 TO 35 MPH WITH
HIGHER GUSTS BY EARLY SATURDAY AFTERNOON. RIDGETOPS AND ANY
EXPOSED ELEVATIONS WILL SEE GUSTS UP TO 45 MPH. WINDS WILL SHIFT
TO THE WEST AND NORTHWEST DURING THE LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENING
* MINIMUM HUMIDITIES: 10 TO 15 PERCENT IS EXPECTED. HUMIDITY
RECOVERY SATURDAY EVENING WILL BE GOOD.
* THUNDERSTORMS: ISOLATED MAINLY DRY THUNDERSTORMS.
The Spotted Bear Ranger District closed its portion of the Bob Marshall Wilderness due to the fire danger . . .
As fires bloom, the options to recreate in the Bob Marshall Wilderness are rapidly diminishing. The Spotted Bear Ranger District will shut down the entire wilderness portion of the district because of fires and fire danger beginning Friday morning, fire information officer Al Koss said. That includes lands in both the Bob Marshall and the Great Bear Wilderness.
The non-wilderness portion remains open, though the Spotted Bear Campground is closed. Koss said wilderness rangers are giving who are already in the backcountry a few days to get out of the area.
The decision came as multiple fires burn in the district. One new fire, detected yesterday, is near Lena Lake in the wilderness. That fire is now 40 acres in size. That forced the closure of the Holland Lake trailhead. The Meadow Creek Trailhead is also closed due to the fires.
Here’s a good summary of the wildfire situation throughout this corner of Montana . . .
Authorities closed a section of U.S. Highway 2 near Essex on Thursday to provide safe access for firefighters battling the Sheep Fire, a 232-acre blaze that has grown to within 1 mile of the highway and river corridor near the southern boundary of Glacier National Park.
There are no evacuation orders, but Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry and his deputies notified 106 residents in and around Essex that they must prepare to leave and recommended they begin loading their cars immediately, Flathead County emergency information officer Jennifer Rankosky told the Associated Press. Forty-two people were home and notices were left at the rest of the homes.
Over 200 structures in the area are at risk, including homes, according to fire managers.
Fire and county officials were assessing how to best protect structures in the community. Red Cross officials were preparing a shelter in West Glacier 30 miles north on U.S. Highway 2, Rankosky said.
Here’s a good summary of the fire situation in this corner of Montana right now . . .
Eight major fires are burning across the region Friday and officials say the situation could worsen this afternoon as a weather system brings gusty winds and thunderstorms amid historically dry conditions.
The National Weather Service in Missoula issued a red flag warning starting at noon for the entire northern half of Montana.
“If something new starts in the right spot it could be catastrophic,” said Lincoln Chute, Flathead County fire service area manager.
The Thompson Fire in Glacier Park notwithstanding, Tuesday was a fiery day throughout Northwest Montana.
An early morning fire led Flathead National Forest officials to temporarily close Jewel Basin Road, which reopened Tuesday afternoon after crews put out the small, lightning-caused fire near Noisy Creek.
Spotted early in the morning north of the lower segment of the gravel road, the fire was stopped at a quarter of an acre after firefighters from the forest and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation crews hit it with a light helicopter and finished containment lines by Tuesday afternoon. There were no trail closures associated with the fire.