Blog Cabin
Monday
Sep042017

Sunrise Fire rumbles back to life, additional evacuation warnings issued  

The Sunrise Fire showed new life over the weekend-USFS photo (SUPERIOR)- The Sunrise Fire in Mineral County might have slipped from the headlines with all the major fires burning in Western Montana. 

And although the blaze burning east of Superior might be 90% contained, there's still enough burning to cause renewed concerns for residents' safety.

The Mineral County Sheriff issued Stage 2, pre-evacuation warnings for residents living in the Quartz Creek area Sunday evening, as high winds and very dry conditions breathed new life into the blaze. Fire managers are also concerned about Red Flag Warnings, with critical fire weather forecast through Monday night. 

The fire, which started in the first round of lighting-caused fires over Western Montana, has scorched over 26,000 acres. 

Monday
Sep042017

Alice Creek Fire continues to spread east of Lincoln

Alice Creek Fire- USFS photo (LINCOLN)- Driven by windy conditions, the Alice Creek Fire continues to spread east of Lincoln, having burned over 17,000-acres. 

Strong winds through Sunday evening drove the fire south and west, where it has become established in Telephone Gulch and also the North Fork of Greek Creek. The fire grew more than 5,800 acres. 

Late last night, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's deputies ordered additional evacuations of the Landers Fork and Elk Trail Subdivisions because the fire was backing down Alice Creek. Heavy smoke had reduced visibility there this morning down to just 25-feet. Alice Creek Basin and Tom's Gulch were also evacuated. 

Authorities are trying to figure out how many structures might have been impacted by the fire's spread. 

Highway 200 has re-opened over Rogers Pass this morning. 

A Red Cross Shelter is on standby at the elementary school in Wolf Creek. A community meeting is set for tonight at the Augusta School, starting at 6 p.m. 

Monday
Sep042017

Caribou Fire grows, but fire lines hold in Sunday evening winds

Smoke rises from the Caribou Fire in the West Kootenai- USFS photo (EUREKA)- The Caribou Fire, burning in a remote corner of Northwest Montana, continues to grow. But firefighters are happy their lines held in the windy, dry weather Sunday evening. 

The fire, which was started by lightning, has seen most of its growth since Friday. It's burning west of Lake Koocanusa in an area of forests and clearings along the U.S.-Canadian border.

As of Monday morning, the fire has burned just over 16,000-acres, with over 1600 acres of that total in British Columbia. 

The West Kootenai Community remains under a full evacuation order. Some structures were lost over the weekend, but the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office is still verifying the exact number.

Monday
Sep042017

Sprague Fire nearly doubles, crews worry about Monday's weather

Crews set up structure protection at Lake McDonald Lodge- USFS photo(WEST GLACIER)- With winds having already gusted over 40-miles per hour, fire crews are bracing for the worst as winds shift over the Sprague Fire, burning in the heart of Glacier National Park. 

The lighting-caused fire grew to over 9,400 acres on Sunday afternoon, as a passing cold front switched the winds from the southwest back over to the north and east. That pushed the fire burning south of Lake McDonald to the west and south. 

Forecasts are for cooler temperatures and somewhat higher relative humidity today. But with the geographic orientation of the McDonald Valley, east winds could present some challenging conditions through tonight. A Red Flag Warning remains in effect until 9 p.m. 

The Fort Apache Hot Shots have been staged at Lake McDonald Lodge to protect the historic structure if necessary. Evacuations of all tourists and residents remain in place from Apgar up to Logan Pass. 

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed to through traffic, but Logan Pass is accessible from the east. 

Monday
Sep042017

Winds drive Rice Ridge Fire to over 100k acres

The Rice Ridge Fire blows up near Copper Lake- MCSO photo (SEELEY)- The latest maps show the Rice Ridge Fire near Seeley Lake exploded in Sunday's dry, windy weather, nearly doubling in size to more than 100,000 acres.

It's now by far the largest fire burning in Western Montana and the biggest to be burning near population in Western Montana in more than a decade.

The lightning-caused fire had been growing steadily over the past weeks since it ignited in mid-July. But in the past few days it quickly passed 30,000, then 40,000 acres. By Sunday morning the fire topped 50,000 acres.

But the big run came yesterday as winds drove the fire east, forcing more evacuations in Powell County near Coopers Lake and north of Highway 200. 

The fire, which has been fought by a Type 2 Team since it began, will be turned over to one of the best fire teams in the Northern Rockies today, with Greg Poncin's crew coming on scene. Poncin's team has already had two successful deployments against the Lolo Peak Fire, and a history of dealing with some of the worst fires in Western Montana in recent years, including the Sawtooth Fire, Lolo Complex and last year's Roaring Lion Fire.