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Entries in Montana fires (291)

Sunday
Sep032017

Sprague Fire closes west side of Glacier's McDonald corridor

Sprague Fire- USFS photo (WEST GLACIER)- Worried about critical fire weather and the continued growth of the Sprague Fire, Glacier National Park authorities are closing the Lake McDonald-McDonald Creek corridor and order park visitors to evacuate. 

The fire, which started with passing lightning on August 10th has continued to spread in the hot, dry weather of the past week, and has now consumed over 5100-acres in the Gunsight Pass area immediately west of Lake McDonald. 

Saturday, park officials had said they would be closing all the trails and campgrounds from the south end of Lake McDonald to Logan Pass. This morning, that evacuation order was expanded to include closure of the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road, with all residents of the valley and concession housing told to leave. 

Logan Pass is only accessible from the east side of the park.

The fire destroyed the historic Sperry Chalet late last week.

Sunday
Sep032017

Caribou Fire more than doubles in size, more evacuations ordered

Residents view the increased activity of the Caribou Fire on Saturday evening - Forest Service photo (WEST KOOTENAI)- Dry conditions and high winds are creating massive growth on the explosive Caribou Fire, which has now more than doubled in size since Friday.

The fire, which started small after being ignited by lightning on August 11th, has blown up in the hot, dry weather of the past couple of days, and has now scorched nearly 14,000 acres. The fire is burning 18-miles northwest of Eureka on the west side of Lake Koocanusa, above the East Fork of the Yaak and has spread across the Canadian border.

Authorities are reporting this morning some structures have been lost as the fire made a 4-mile run yesterday. 

The Lincoln County Sheriff has expanded the initial evacuation order for both the West Kootenai North and South Zones. That impacts the small communities of Dodge Creek, Spring Creek and West Kootenai. Just over 300 people live in the West Kootenai area. 

The Red Cross has set up emergency services for evacuees have been set up at the Church of God in Eureka. A community meeting os set for 7 tonight at the Kootenai Fire Hall. 

Sunday
Aug272017

Western Montana's "Big 3" fires close in on $100-million mark

The Lolo Peak Fire has been burning since being started by lightning in mid-July -Dennis Bragg photo (MISSOULA)- This is already one of the most expensive fire seasons on record in Montana. 

And Western Montana's "Big 3" fires are chewing through most of the money, with the combined total approaching $100-million. 

The latest report shows the Lolo Peak Fire's price tag just hit $30.8 million dollars. But the Sapphire Complex burning above Rock Creek and the Sunrise Fire near Superior aren't far behind, with both fires costing over $27-million dollars each. Those three fires have burned a combined total of just under 100,000 acres through Saturday night. 

The Meyers Fire in Granite County has cost $21.1-million to date. The Rice Ridge Fire, which continues to burn near Seeley Lake has passed the $20-million mark. 

Other fires that have cost more than $1-million dollars include the Liberty Fire southeast of Arlee, the Alice Creek and Arastra Fires near Lincoln, the Tamarack Fire, and the Blue Bay Fire on Flathead Lake. 

Thursday
Aug242017

Neptune tanker grounded with engine problem 

Neptune P2V in action- Neptune Facebook page file photo(HELENA)- One of Neptune Aviation's venerable P2V tankers was forced to divert for a landing in Helena last night, after it developed an engine problem in flight. 

KTVH reports the prop-driven tanker was enroute to help the Forest Service with a new fire new Dillon when the problem cropped up with one engine. The plane landed safely and crews are replacing the engine before taking to the air Thursday.

Neptune's planes have been flying hundreds of sorties this summer, especially with very active fire season in Western Montana. The remaining P2Vs are set to be retired at a special ceremony in Missoula at the end of September. 

Thursday
Aug242017

Montana air quality improves slightly 

(MISSOULA)- Residents of Missoula County and the northern Bitterroot continue to suffer with terrible air quality from all the fire smoke. 

DEQ reports air quality was "unhealthy" in Missoula and Frenchtown as well as Hamilton late Wednesday evening. And in Lolo, the air was even worse, reaching "hazardous" levels. 

However, by Thursday morning conditions had improved somewhat, with all those same areas reporting air was "unhealthy for sensitive groups."  

And forecasters aren't expecting any real long term relief, with more dry weather in the forecast after a chance of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon.