MTPR

Rick Connell

Fire Management Officer Keith Van Broke oversees the start of a 2017 prescribed burn to clear dry, dead brush from an area logged three years previous.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

After a tame fire season, the Flathead National Forest hopes to spark a number of prescribed burns in the coming weeks, but rain could limit how much work fire managers get done.

Katherine Stats, West Glacier Paradise. Oil on linen panel 18x24.
Hockaday Museum of Art

Like thousands of tourists, businesses and locals, wildfire altered plans for some 40 artists participating in a residency program hosted by Kalispell’s Hockaday Museum of Art last summer.

Fire fighters building fire line.
BLM (PD)

The National Interagency Fire Center raised the national preparedness level up a notch today as wildfires across the southwest and lower Rockies require more firefighting resources.

Northwest Montana remains at the lowest preparedness level.

This map shows the burn severity as of August 22, 2017 for the Park Creek Fire, one of the biggest fires in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest this year.
INCIWEB

The Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest lifted all fire related closures today. Several other national forests in Montana reduced fire restrictions or closures over the last several weeks. 

About 300 people came to the first public meeting about the Gibralter Ridge Fire at Eureka High School last night
Nicky Ouellet

I met Jarrell Miller at the fire information meeting in Eureka Wednesday night.

He was one of the first people to respond to the Gibralter Ridge Fire east of town late Monday night, he says the forest looked a little like winter.

"You would think it was snowing but it was glowing," Miller said, "glowing embers that were flying, and then everywhere those landed- they landed all around - there was potential for thousands or millions of fires, but only a few of them would ignite."

The Lodgepole Complex of fires has burned more than a quarter-million acres of rangeland in eastern Montana. Hundreds of firefighters came from 34 states to battle the blaze. While it’s now almost fully contained, ranchers who live here are left with a landscape of scorched grass and scattered cattle.

The nation’s biggest wildfire may be fully contained within a week.

According to Rick Connell, incident commander for the Lodgepole Complex fire in eastern Montana, everything is “looking pretty good.”