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

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 13, 2015

The Scotty Brown Fire, seen on August 11, 2015.
The Scotty Brown Fire, seen on August 11, 2015.

A Type-II incident management team has taken over command on the Thompson Fire burning in Glacier National Park about 15 miles east of the the West Glacier entrance. The fire started August 9, and has already burned an estimated 14,900 acres as of Thursday morning. The Thompson fire is 0 percent contained at this time.
The Thompson fire threatened the Upper Nyack Backcountry Patrol Cabin, but helicopter water drops were successful in protecting the cabin while the fire burned around it. One other backcountry cabin remains threatened. It has been wrapped, and sprinklers were set up to protect it.

The fire has forced the closure of trails and campsites in the Nyack and Coal Creek areas.

34 personnel are working the fire, with ground resources limited due to remote, rugged terrain and safety concerns. Aerial resources are being used in an attempt to control the spread of the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Reynolds Creek Fire

Also burning in Glacier Park is the 4,311 acre Reynolds Creek Fire. Growth on this fire has slowed this week. Firefighters say the blaze is 67 percent contained. They continue to work on mop-up operations as the fire burns green islands of fuel inside the containment perimeter.

The Reynolds Creek Fire started July 21, its cause is under investigation.

Scotchman Gulch Fire

A new fire was discovered today burning in steep terrain northwest of Phillipsburg. The Scotchman Gulch Fire has burned an estimated 200 acres in heavy timber and thick understory. Fire fighters have been dispatched from the Wise River and Pintler Ranger Districts of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. An air tanker and a Type-II team have been ordered.

Sucker Creek Fire

The Sucker-Creek Fire, a lightning-caused blaze discovered Monday has grown by about 50 acres since yesterday, burning a total of 150 acres on the Lincoln Ranger District. Although the fire is burning in rugged terrain with a large number of tree snags, it's moving away from the town of Lincoln toward an area burned in 2003.

120 personnel are working to build fire lines secure the perimeter of the fire. No structures are threatened at this time.

A community meeting will be held in Lincoln tonight at Hooper State Park to discuss fire updates. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

Bear Creek Fire

A 135 acre fire is burning near the Spotted Bear Ranger Station, about 40 miles southeast of Kalispell according the Daily Interlake. That fire isn't threatening any structures, and is one of 14 fires started by lightning strikes Wednesday night. Half of those fires are burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Dunn & Weigel Fires

Two fires are burning near Libby. The lightning-caused Dunn Fire, first reported on August 11 has burned 80 acres on Plum Creek land east of Libby. That fire is now 50% contained.

The Weigel Fire started Tuesday, Aug 11, 24 miles northeast of Libby. The fire grew substantially on Wednesday and is now estimated at 120 acres. A Type-II team is on the way to take over management of this fire. No structures are threatened.

Scotty Brown Fire

The Scotty Brown Fire burning near Ovando is reported as 60 percent contained at 23 acres. The fire, burning in grass, timber, and brush, is exhibiting active behavior and spot fires.

Sunflower Fire

The Sunflower fire is burning in the Gold Creek drainage near Missoula. The 27 acre fire was discovered August 11, and is estimated at 25 acres.

Rock Creek Fire

A heavy tanker dropped retardant on a 5 acre start 11 miles west of the Missoula airport. Firefighters are working to establish and reinforce perimeter to contain the fire's growth.

Bitterroot National Forest Fires

Bitterroot National Forest officials report that 9 new lightning-caused fires are burning on that forest. Quick initial attack has kept all fires at under 1.5 acres. Several are burning in remote areas that require firefighters to be brought in by helicopter.

Josh Burnham is MTPR's digital editor. He works on the news team and as a content strategist managing the station's website, podcasts, email newsletters and social media.
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