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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Wetter, Cooler Weather Slows Montana Fires

Northern Side of The Glacier Rim Fire
Northern Side of The Glacier Rim Fire

Crews on the Glacier Rim Fire continue to maintain fire lines and remove hazardous snags around the fire's perimeter.

Monday, an additional water tender was brought in to help cool the south flank of the fire and re-establish fire lines after a "slop over" on July 4.

Ellen Blickhan, Fire Information Officer, says the weather has helped too.

"Yeah, on July 4, we did have what we call a slopover, where we had a pretty good winds that took the fire just out of the containment lines on the south side of the fire. In the last couple days, the weather's been really cooperative and we've been able to get a line around that slopover and tie it in to the main fire. So, things are looking pretty good right now," says Blickhan.

Despite the cooler, wetter weather of the past two days, unseasonably warm weather continues to be a concern for fire officials.

"You know we're just seeing unprecedented levels of dryness," Blickhan says. "You know it's been unseasonably hot, although today is quite nice and cool. Just in general, northwest Montana is extremely dry, and to have fires this early, with the behaviors that we've seen this early in our fire season is really unprecedented."

The Glacier Rim fire, burning about 11.5 miles north of Columbia Falls, is estimated at 100 acres in size. According to inciweb, the fire is 70% contained.

Alex Camp Road Fire
Rain and cooler temperatures also slowed The 5,700 acre Alex Camp Road Fire. That fire is burning mixed timber, juniper and grass, in a remote area of Petroleum County five miles northwest of Crooked Creek Camp Ground, and 40 miles from the nearest paved road. A total of 132 personnel are working the fire, which is 35% contained.

Graves Creek Fire
A five acre fire is burning in steep, rocky terrain 10 miles north of Thompson Falls. According to the Forest Service, the Graves Creek Fire showed active fire behavior in some heavily timbered spots Monday.

Three air tankers dropped retardant on the fire Monday. Today, a helicopter and six firefighters are working the blaze. A Type I crew and helicopter have been ordered. No structures are threatened.

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