Northern Rockies Type II Incident Management Team
Irv Leach Incident Commander
Daily Fact Sheet Aug. 20, 8:00 a.m.
Resources - Total Personnel: 212 Injuries: None Structures Lost: None
Hand Crews: 3 20-person, 1 Wildland Fire Management Module (10), 1 Helitack Crew (10), Smokejumpers (4)
Air Support: Helicopters (1 Type-1 & 3 Type-3), Engines: 7
The Thompson-Divide Complex is comprised of the Sheep and Granite Fires on Flathead National Forest and the Thompson Fire Glacier National Park. The new 2-acre Spruce Fire was added to the complex Aug. 19, with 4 Smoke Jumpers providing initial attack. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for active fire behavior. Today, warming and drying weather conditions with increased winds will likely increase fire activity, causing significant fire spread on the Sheep Fire to the Northeast with potential spotting up to a quarter-mile. A mobile fire retardant base is in place for use by helicopters. Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for Northwest Montana including Flathead County. Smoke conditions are elevated due to other wildfires west of our location. Visit http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/ for air quality information. New closures are in effect for some trails in the vicinity of the fires for Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest. For more information, please see Glacier NP page http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm or for Flathead NF call Hungry Horse Ranger District (406) 387-3800.
Sheep Fire, Flathead National Forest Link to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4468/
Approximate Size: 93 acres Containment: 0% Fire Information: (406) 387-4854, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Structures At Risk: 200+structures, BNSF has several wooden snowsheds and 1 wooden trestle
Structures Lost: None
Fire Update: The Sheep Fire is about 2.5 miles south of Essex in the Great Bear Wilderness of Flathead National Forest. It was detected on Aug. 15, burning in very steep, difficult terrain with no access. The fire was very active yesterday with the winds from the west which caused suppression crews to disengage because direct operations were not proving effective. Single engine air tankers made a number of retardant drops on the Sheep Fire. Helicopters actively made bucket drops. Fire managers will reassess fire activity and weather today to determine when crews can reengage safely.
Portions of the Highway 2 corridor around Essex moved into the ‘Set’ Stage of the Ready, Set, Go evacuation strategy. Residents of Essex and surrounding area are advised to prepare their property and themselves because of the proximity of the fire. Flathead County Sheriff is informing residents of the potential for evacuation. It is recommended that affected people load critical property and needs into their car. They should have an evacuation plan in place and make sure everyone knows the plan. Visit http://www.wildlandfirersg.org/ for more information.
Granite Fire, Flathead National Forest Link to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4468/ Approximate Size: 35 acres Containment: 0% Fire Information: (406) 387-4854, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Fire Update: The Granite Fire is west of Marias Pass and south of Hwy. 2 in the Great Bear Wilderness. It was detected Aug. 16 burning in very steep terrain in a mixed conifer forest below a ridge. The fire was totally smoked in yesterday preventing firefighters from safely engaging and using aircraft water bucket drops. Today, crews will try to reenter the area and determine the best plan of attack based on conditions. Crews have been encountering numerous snags that need to be dealt with for safety before line construction. The Granite Creek Trail (#156) is closed.
Thompson Fire, Glacier National Park Link to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4468/ Approximate Size: 13,867 acres Containment: 0% Fire Information: (406) 314-1669, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Structures At Risk: 2 historic cabins Structures Lost: None
Fire Update: The Thompson Fire, reported Aug. 9, is located in a remote south-central backcountry area of Glacier National Park about 15 miles east of the West Glacier entrance in the Thompson and Nyack drainage and west of the Continental Divide.
Crews are camped out and working in the Nyack Creek drainage. Crews have been successfully conducting burnout operations to contain the fire by reducing fuels along avalanche chutes on the west side of the fire’s perimeter. Today, crews will focus on mopping up hot spots within the burnout operation. The fire remains west of the Divide and poses no threat to communities around East Glacier and St. Mary.
Most of Glacier National Park is unaffected by this wildfire and is available for recreational use. Limited backcountry closures are in place. For more specific visitor information, please see the website http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm.
For information on the Reynolds Creek fire, please visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4405/#.
The Thompson Fire has not impacted any park roads. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open.