Northern Rockies Type II Incident Management Team
Irv Leach Incident Commander
Daily Fact Sheet Aug. 23, 7:00 pm
Fire Information: (406) 387-4854/ (406) 314-1669, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Resources - Total Personnel: 265 Injuries: 1 Structures Lost: None
Hand Crews: 4 20-person, 1 Wildland Fire Management Module, 1 Helitack Crew (10), Smokejumpers (3)
Air Support: Helicopters (2 Type-1 & 1 Type-3), Engines: 15
The Thompson-Divide Complex is comprised of the Sheep, Granite and Spruce Fires on the Flathead National Forest and the Thompson Fire in Glacier National Park.
Highway 2 is reopened, with pilot cars escorting traffic in both directions to ensure safe traffic flow through the fire area. Pilot cars will run 24 hours a day, but the highway could be closed due to changing fire conditions. Expect delays of 10-15 minutes. Call 511 or visithttp://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/alerts.shtml for current road status.
There will be a public meeting at the Izaak Walton Inn tonight, Sunday, August 23rd at 8:00 pm.
The BNSF and Amtrak trains have been running. For more information on Amtrak call 1-(800) 872-7245.
Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for Northwest Montana.
Residents in the Highway 2 corridor around Essex remain in the ‘Set’ Stage of the Ready, Set, Go evacuation strategy. Residents of Essex and the surrounding area have been advised that they may be evacuated if the Sheep Fire becomes an imminent threat. People should have critical property and needs loaded into their vehicles in preparation for evacuation. They should have an evacuation plan in place and make sure everyone knows the plan. Visit http://www.wildlandfirersg.org/ for more information.
Fire activity was moderate today. There is a predicted fire weather watch for tomorrow. The forecast calls for gusty SW winds and low relative humidity, potentially increasing fire activity. Temperatures are on the increase through this coming week under an unusual high pressure. Isolated dry thunderstorms are predicted to begin in the middle of the week.
The Sheep fire is the incident priority as it is approaching US Hwy. 2 and the BNSF railway and is threatening the community of Essex.
Air operations continued today with two Type 1 helicopters, a Sky Crane and Chinook working on hot spots. A mobile fire retardant base is being used for helicopter bucket drops.
Visit http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/ for air quality info. Closures are in effect for some trails in the vicinity of the fires for Glacier National Park and Flathead National Forest. For more info, 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/
Structures At Risk: 200+ structures, BNSF has several wooden snowsheds and 1 wooden trestle, utilities infrastructure
Approximate Size: 581 acres Containment: 0% Structures Lost: None
Fire Update: The Sheep Fire is about 1 mile south of Essex on the Flathead National Forest. It is burning in very steep, difficult terrain with limited access. Today we saw moderate fire activity with group torching. Increased fire activity is expected tomorrow with warmer, drier conditions. Three crews started clearing a fuel break today on the NE flank of the fire below the steep face across from the Goat Lick and to the north. Helicopters worked on hot spots on the ridge area. Goals are to keep this fire from going north towards Essex and moving into the transportation corridor along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. The night shift continues to monitor fire movement
Granite Fire, Flathead National Forest Link to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4468/
Approximate Size: 247 acres Containment: 0%
Fire Update: The Granite Fire is west of Marias Pass and south of Hwy. 2 in the Great Bear Wilderness. It is burning in very steep terrain in a mixed conifer forest below a ridge. Crews have implemented structural protection measures on several backcountry cabins, trailhead structures, a wooden road bridge, and a radio repeater. Three engines were on this fire today looking for potential line construction opportunities using existing roads. The Granite Creek Trail (#156) is closed.
Spruce Fire, Flathead National Forest Link to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incideuppression actionsnt/4468/
Approximate Size: 3 acres Containment: 100%
Fire Update: The Spruce Fire was added to the complex Aug. 19. The Spruce Fire is about 5 miles south of U.S. 2 at Bear Creek in the Great Bear Wilderness. Crews worked on establishing control lines yesterday and this small fire is now at 100% containment. The fire was declared controlled today at noon. The fire will go into monitoring status.
Thompson Fire, Glacier National Park Link to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4468/ Approximate Size: 16,515 acres Containment: 20%
Structures At Risk: 2 historic cabins Structures Lost: None
Fire Update: The Thompson Fire 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 achieved more containment today and are close to finishing mop-up of all edges of the fire. The fire remains west of the Divide and poses no threat to communities around East Glacier and St. Mary. Crews are shifting into a monitoring status. They will leave their pumps and hose lay in place in case a future need arises. The fire will go into monitoring status.
Most of Glacier National Park is unaffected by this wildfire complex 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.
The Thompson Fire has not impacted any park roads. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open.
For information on the Reynolds Creek fire, please visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4405/#