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

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 5, 2019

Snow Creek Fire
Courtesy of Inciweb
Snow Creek Fire

Updated 6:05 p.m., August 5, 2019

The Snow Creek Fire was started by lightning on August 2. The fire is burning mid to upper slope on the south facing side of the ridge that separates the Snow and Hungry Creek drainages, approximately 1.5 miles up drainage from the South Fork of the Flathead River. Fire activity increased significantly Monday afternoon.

Travel is not advised on the East Side Trail #80 and West Side Trail #263 of the South Fork or on any connecting trails between the Meadow Creek Trailhead and Salmon Forks Cabin. Point protection plans are in process as the fire spreads toward the Black Bear Administrative Cabin and Pack Bridge, located 1.5 miles NE of the current fire location. A crew has been established at the cabin to monitor the fire behavior and implement structure protection plans if necessary. Updates will be available as soon as possible.For more information visit or contact the Spotted Bear Ranger Station at 406-758-5376.

Updated 5:47 p.m., August 5, 2019

The Horsefly Fire is burning about 1-2 miles northwest of the Black Diamond Fire, near Flesher Pass east of Lincoln. It is over 200 acres in size.

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff has issued evacuation orders for residents of the Flesher Acres area, located on the east side of Flesher Pass, due to the growing threat of the Horsefly Fire.

Updated 5:25 p.m., August 5, 2019

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation firefighters continued working on the 52-acre Tornilla Fire west of Kalispell Monday. According to the Sanders County Wildfire Information Facebook page, 30 firefighters were on scene and 20 are expected to be released this evening. The fire is expected to be placed in patrol status Tuesday. The fire was sparked a week ago by an unknown cause that’s still under investigation.

The Lower Stillwater Fire northwest of Whitefish has been deemed 100 percent contained. The 10-person crew working in the area will be released Monday evening and fire will be shifted to patrol status.

The blaze was initially reported at 2 acres late last week, but the DNRC said the fire grew to 10 acres over the weekend. The cause is still under investigation.

Updated 4:20 p.m., August 5, 2019

Today is the first day in a week that some part of Montana is not under red flag warning because of concerns over rapid fire growth due to high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds. 

Today, it’s concern over too much rain. The National Weather Service has forecast the possibility strong thunderstorms this afternoon and tonight for south central and southeast Montana and northcentral Wyoming. These storms could contain dime to quarter sized hail, strong gusty winds up to 60 miles an hour, and locally heavy rainfall.

There are still burn restrictions in Montana. Ten counties continue to ban burning in their locations. County-wide burn bans are still in effect in Toole, Madison, Beaverhead, Blaine, Petroleum, Golden Valley and Cascade counties. And Ravalli, Lewis and Clark and Jefferson counties are still banning debris burning until further notice.

Updated 3:51 p.m., August 5, 2019

A 30-acre wildfire was reported Saturday evening in the Flathead National Forest. The lightning-caused Snow Creek Fire is burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness east of Polson. It was initially reported at 1 acre and grew to its current size over the weekend.

There are no structures threatened by the blaze, which is burning in a remote stretch of the forest. A Forest Service spokesperson could not say how many crews are working on the fire, but according to dispatch records, crews are on site and monitoring the situation.

On Saturday, precipitation moderated fire behavior on the 337 acre Beeskove Fire northeast of Missoula.

Today and tomorrow, the main Rattlesnake Trail trailhead and parking lot will be closed for road maintenance and dust abatement in response to fire suppression vehicle traffic in the area. 278 people and six helicopters are assigned to the Beeskove Fire.

The 5,000 acre North Hills Fire northeast of Helena is now being called 90 percent contained. Crews are mopping up hot spots on that fire’s interior and patrolling the fire’s perimeter.

On the Nevada Creek and Black Diamond Fires west of Helena, firefighters reported that numerous spot fires near the fires’ perimeters were slow to develop, but also difficult to locate in heavy dead and down material. They say grasses and shrubs appear to be too green to carry fire by themselves, but a heavy component of down trees is causing spread. They say potential still exists for additional growth on both fires, which together have burned an estimated 91 acres.

And the 11,000 acre Ridgetop Fire burning in the Missouri Breaks in Petroleum County is 50 percent contained. Firefighters there conducted successful burnout operations and were able to establish a significant amount of control line following light rain Sunday.

The forecast calls for warmer, drier conditions across Montana this week.

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