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

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 17, 2015

So many wildfires are burning across Montana that Governor Bullock has declared a fire emergency, and the Montana National Guard has been tapped to join the firefighting efforts. Here's a roundup of some of the largest fires burning in western Montana today.

More than 30 fires are burning between the Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park.

Thompson Complex

Three fires are burning in what is now called the Thompson-Divide Complex. By far the largest is the original Thompson Fire, reported August 9,  in a remote south-central area of Glacier Park. It’s estimated at around 13,600 acres. That fire is not contained. The new fires in the Thompson-Divide Complex are located in the Great Bear Wilderness south of Highway 2.
Fire information officer Gregg Denitto says the Sheep Fire is estimated at 100 acres and the Granite fire is around 30 acres.

"And those two had some increased activity yesterday. They’re both within the Great Bear Wilderness currently, but because of our proximity and the increased activity of those fires, they merged those with the Thompson Fire to make what we call a complex."

Reynolds Creek Fire

The Reynolds Creek Fire reported July 21, is 67 percent contained and burning 4,300 acres on the east side Glacier Park.

Bear Creek Complex

Twenty-nine fires are burning in Spotted Bear Ranger District area of the Flathead National Forest.

The fires have prompted the closure of Spotted Bear River Road (#568), and all the trails that start from the road. An extensive area closure for the Trail Creek Fire is in place in the upper Middle Fork from the Spotted Bear River Road and the Eastside Reservoir Road around Upper and Lower Twin Creek, eastward to Dolly Varden Creek.

Firefighters are concentrating their efforts on the Trail and Flat Fires, working to build fire and dozer lines in timber sale units.

Forest officials wish to remind the public that campfires are not allowed outside of developed campsites with fire rings.

Spotted Bear information officer Al Koss says most of those fires are under an acre.

"With the cooler temperatures and some of the cloud cover it has kept the fires at minimal fire activity over the last day or so. We’ve seen a little increase in the acreage of the Trail Fire, which is the largest fire we have. That is now at 3,000 acres."

About 4,000 acres total are burning in the Spotted Bear Ranger District.

Sucker Creek Fire
On the Sucker fire on the Lincoln Ranger District, evacuations were lifted Sunday for Alice Creek area. Alice Creek Road 293 reopened. But some closures remain in effect including portions of Sucker Creek Road (Road 1800); North Fork Keep Cool Road (Road 1821); Copper Creek Road (Road 330). Snowbank Trail (Trail 418); Area and forest surrounding Sucker Creek Fire area.

The lightning caused fire was reported on August 10, and is now estimated at 2,635 acres. 204 Firefighters are working to build fire line and do mop up where possible. They estimate that fire as 10% contained.

Kootenai Complex
The Kootenai Complex of fires, burning in Lincoln county south and east of Fortine includes the Barnaby, Marston, Sunday, Weigel and Dunn Fires. The largest fire in the complex is the Marston Fire, estimated at 2,000 acres. That fire isn't currently threatening structures, but officials say if the fire moves to the north or west it will likely threaten private lands in the Laughing Water Creek and Graves Creek drainages. A Type II Incident management team is working the complex out of the Murphy Lake Ranger Station.

There will be a community meeting for the Northeast Kootenai Complex Tuesday evening, August 18, at 7:00 p.m. at the Trego Civic Center. Agency administrators, fire management personnel, and public information staff will provide up to date information on the status of the five fires that comprise the complex.  (406) 882-8308 for info.

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