Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 31, 2015
In general, wildfires in western Montana calmed over the weekend, thanks to cooler weather and even a little rain, but other fires grew, and some new ones popped up.
Two new fires were reported yesterday on the I-15 corridor between Helena and Great Falls. That’s prompted evacuations for the Holter Lake Campground and all residences on the north side of nearby Beartooth road. Residents on the south side of Beartooth road received an evacuation warning.
The two fires, totaling about 250 acres, are being aggressively attacked with state and national guard helicopters, heavy air tankers and smokejumpers. There’s a public meeting tonight in Craig at 7:00 about the two new fires, which are being called the Holter Complex.
Clark Fork Complex
To the northwest, evacuees in the Noxon area are going to be allowed back into their homes tomorrow morning. That according to Sanders County Sheriff Tom Rummel. Some of those evacuees have been out of their homes since August 19. Fire managers on the Clark Fork Complex, which prompted the evacuation orders said fires there got 1/3 to 2/3 of an inch of rain yesterday. Higher humidities today were expected to help firefighters handle those three fires, which are burning approximately 2,400 acres on either side of the Montana- Idaho line in check.
At 6:00 this morning residents of Essex were allowed back in their homes after being evacuated Thursday. U.S. Highway 2 has also been re-opened.
West Fork Fish Creek Fire
The West Fork Fish Creek fire burning southwest of Alberton this morning prompted Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to close a section of the Clark Fork River through the Alberton Gorge. Closed are the Cyr Bridge, Triple Bridge, Ralph’s Takeout and Tarkio Access sites. An estimated 300 people are evacuated from their homes in the area. Evacuation notices for that fire started Thursday.
A large area closure is in place on the Ninemile Ranger District, Lolo National Forest. Closure includes all of the Ninemile Ranger District south of Interstate 90.