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Entries in Montana fires (292)

Monday
Sep042017

Fire crews using all available resources on Highway 200 Complex

USFS photo (PLAINS)- Fire managers are throwing everything they have at the Highway 200 Complex fires, which have already burned more than 8,000 acres in the Lower Clark Fork region.

Most of the fires started with passing thunderstorms a week ago Monday. But their growth has really happened since temperatures climbed and humidity dropped since late last week.

The latest maps show the fires have scorched just over 8,200 acres, capped by the Sheep Gap Fire, which is burning in the mountains just west of Plains on the south side of the Clark Fork River. 

Crews are using heavy equipment to build fire lines and aerial attack on the Sheep Gap Fire, where residents living along River Road West were evacuated over the weekend. However, no structures have been lost. 

Work also continues on the Deep Creek, Cub Creek, and Reader fires. Fire managers are surveying the Moose Fire to plan out their attack. But the smaller, Miller Fire is unstaffed because there are simply no more resources available. 

Fire managers are worried about the critical fire weather this evening, but also the forecast the next several days, with more dry weather forecast.

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

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.