The following press release was sent out by Lolo National Forest.
Driven by 25 to 30 mile per hour winds from the west, along with 95 degree weather and 15% relative humidity, the Koo-Koo-Sint 1 and Koo-Koo-Sint 2 fires moved to the east yesterday, merging into one fire and increasing to several hundred acres in size.
Part of the Thompson River Complex, which also includes the Spruce Creek and Spruce 2 fres, the Koo-Koo-Sint fires are visible from the Clark Fork Valley floor and could distract drivers on Highway 200. Along with the smoke generated from the fires, distracted drivers are currently creating a potential safety hazard, and the public is being asked to not stop and look at the fire from the highway.
With the increase in fire activity and the continuing possibility of rolling debris reaching the highway, the Montana Department of Transportation has placed electronic message-boards to forewarn motorists along Highway 200 east and west of the fire.
Helicopters with buckets for water drops and retardant planes worked on the Koo-Koo-Sint fires into the evening last night. A total of 132 personnel are assigned to the complex.
The Thompson River Complex, now estimated to be 603 acres overall, is being managed by a Type 3 incident management team organization based out of the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District office in Plains. The team was working to reassess the situation with the other two complex fires – Spruce Creek and Spruce 2 – this morning. The complex fires, which were all caused by lightning, were discovered Aug. 1 after a series of storms passed through the area.
A public meeting to discuss the Thompson River Complex is scheduled for tonight, Aug. 7 at the Thompson Falls Community Center. Personnel from the fire and the Plains/Thompson Falls District Ranger will be at this meeting to answer questions and provide background on the current situation.
As a result of the fire activity, several closures remain in effect until further notice. Trail Nos. 445 (the Koo-Koo-Sint trail) and 1102 (the Big Spruce Creek trail), and road No. 7668 (in the vicinity of the Spruce Creek fires) are the closures currently in effect.
For more information on this incident, or on other wildfires burning around the nation, please go please go to the Inciweb site at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov.
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