Wildfires

Montana wildfire updates for Sept. 5, 2017

MISSOULA, Mont. - The Evacuation Order has been lifted for the Sweeney Creek, Larry Creek and Bass Creek North areas of the Lolo Peak Fire.

Rice Ridge Fire (Seeley Lake)

  • Location: 2 miles northeast of Seeley Lake
  • Size: 108,126 acres
  • Containment: 2 percent
  • Structures Threatened: 1090
  • Greg Poncin's Type 1, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team assumed command of the Rice Ridge Fire at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
  • Mandatory Evacuation Orders:
    • Powell County officials on Sunday ordered the evacuation of the Cooper Lake area.
    • Northern Boundary: The junction of Highway 83 and Cedar Lane northeast to Morrell Creek Road. The boundary continues along the Cottonwood Lakes Road east to the Forest Boundary.
    • Eastern Boundary: Cottonwood Lakes Road at the Forest Boundary and south to the northern boundary of the Double Arrow.
    • Southern Boundary: The junction of Highway 83 and Whitetail Drive east to the junction of Whitetail Drive and Dolly Varden. The southern boundary continues east to include the area north of the Commons Area and eastward to the intersection of Montana Drive and South Canyon Drive, continuing southeast along Montana Drive to the junction with Glacier Drive and then south to the junction with Double Arrow Road including Pyramid Loop and all areas in the Double Arrow Subdivision to the south and east.
    • Western Boundary: The junction of Highway 83 and Cedar Lane south to the junction of Highway 83 and Whitetail Drive.
  • Evacuation Warnings:
    • This current warning area includes both sides of Highway 83 N. from Tamarack Resort to Bear Grass, extending to Bear Grass Ln, Loon Lane and Camp Creek.
    • Also under an evacuation warning are residents on both the north and south sides of Boy Scout Rd. to the Fawn Creek intersection.
    • Kozy Korner Meadows area. Eastern boundary starts in the 7500 block of Woodworth Road and runs west to Cottonwood Lakes Road, then north through the Rich Ranch. There are 15 homes in the warning area.
    • This also includes the Black Canyon Ranch which is the only property located on the south side of Woodworth Road in the warning area.
    • The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation WARNING for the Big Sky and Emerald Lake areas: This evacuation WARNING includes all properties from the intersection of Woodworth Road and Highway 83, East to Skilly Drive, and all properties north of Woodworth Road.
  • Red Cross shelter site located at the UCC Church, 405 University Avenue, Missoula MT.
  • Fire information booths will be staffed at the Valley Market, Seeley Airport and Rovero’s Hardware Store on Highway 83 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Closures: A closure order is still in effect for the areas surrounding the Rice Ridge Fire. All Seeley Lake waters are closed. Big Larch campground is still closed.

Lolo Peak Fire (Lolo)

  • Location: 10 miles southwest of Lolo
  • Size: 47,775 acres
  • Containment: 31 percent
  • Structures threatened: 540
  • Structures destroyed: 2 homes, 6 outbuildings
  • Evacuation orders and warnings:
    • The Evacuation Order has been lifted for the Sweeney Creek, Larry Creek and Bass Creek North areas of the Lolo Peak Fire, although the evacuation warnings are still in effect.
    • The evacuation warning remains in effect from Hannaford Avenue north to West County Lane Road and west of Highway 93 as well as in the Bear Creek and Elk Creek areas on Highway 12 west of Lolo and Redtail Hawk Lane.
    • The Evacuation warning is lifted in the Highway 12 corridor from mile marker 24 (near and including Arena Drive) to the Highway 93 junction in Lolo. The evacuation warning was also lifted for residents in the Highway 93 corridor from the Highway 12 junction to mile marker 79 (near and including the Gravel Pit off of Old Highway 93 and the McClain Creek Road).
  • 45 mph speed limit through the fire area - HIGHWAYS ARE OPEN.
  • Fire Information Locations: Staffed fire information is available in three locations:  Super 1 Foods in Stevensville; Farmers State Bank in Florence; and the weigh station in Lolo at the corner of Highways 12 and 93.
  • Returning Home: Residents may see changes to their property as a result of firefighting operations. Check your property for damage to your well/pump, electric/gas meter, propane tank and for fire-weakened trees.
  • Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for Missoula and Ravalli Counties and across the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests. Additional information can be found on Inciweb.
  • Missoula County residents can receive emergency notifications of critical alerts via their choice of text, phone and/or email by signing up at Smart911.com. 
  • Shelters: the Red Cross shelter for Lolo Peak evacuees is located at the LDS church in Stevensville, 100 Middle Burn Fork Road.
  • COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE TONIGHT at 7 p.m. at Stevensville High School, 300 Park Street, Stevensville, MT.

Nelson Creek Fire (Bitterroot)

  • Location:  3 miles west of the West Fork Ranger District
  • Size: 280 acres
  • Containment: 45 percent
  • Evacuations: Residents on Nez Perce Road evacuated due to the Nelson Creek Fire can return home under a warning status. Residents should remain prepared to evacuate due to critical fire behavior.
  • Structures: None threatening to any structures.

Highway 200 Complex

  • Location: northwest of Plains
  • Size: 21,355 acres
  • Containment - zero percent
  • Evacuations remain in place near Sheep Gap Fire from the end of River Road to Arnold Road, at the corner of Section 11. All residents in the Plains, Thompson Falls, and Trout Creek areas should note that conditions are dynamic and will likely change quickly over the next few days. Please have an evacuation plan in place NOW for what you would do in the event of an emergency. Wildfires can grow very quickly and you may receive little to no notice before an evacuation takes place. If you feel concerned for your welfare, don’t wait to be told to leave – practice self-evacuations.
  • Officials say to please have an evacuation plan in place NOW for what you would do in the event of an emergency. Wildfires can grow very quickly and you may receive little to no notice before an evacuation takes place.
  • Sheep Gap – 8,978 acres
  • Reader Fires – 152 acres
  • Cub Creek – 2,687 acres
  • Deep Creek – 4,089 acres
  • Moose Peak – 4,993 acres
  • Miller Creek – 456 acres
  • Area closures are currently in place around the immediate fire areas and areas integral to safe fire operations. As hunting season continues, please respect area closures. The Forest Service is working to ensure that closures are kept to a minimum but are large enough for firefighter and public safety. Please see InciWeb and the Forest Service webpages for the latest closure area maps.
  • A Highway 200 Complex Fires Community Meeting is scheduled for today, September 5th at 6 p.m. in Thompson Falls at the Community Center. Fire personnel and local officials will be there to provide updates on the fires and the status of pre-evacuations and evacuations.

Gibralter Ridge Fire (Eureka)

  • Location: East of Eureka
  • Size: 7,195 acres
  • Containment: 27 percent
  • Structures threatened: 144
  • Evacuations: The Lincoln County Sheriff and the IMT evaluate the need for evacuations on a daily basis. A Pre-Evacuation Warning remains in effect for the Sherman Creek, Griffith Creek, Therriault Pass Road, Stevens Creek, Glen Lake and Sinclair Creek (south/east of West Road) areas. 
  • Road Closure: Grave Creek Road and the Ten Lakes Recreation area are closed above the Grave Creek/Foothills Road junction.

Caribou Fire

  • Location: 21 miles northwest of Eureka
  • Size: 19,070 acres
  • Containment: 10 percent
  • Structures: unknown number destroyed
  • Located on the Three Rivers and Rexford Ranger Districts of the Kootenai National Forest, and has crossed into Canada.
  • Closures: Basin Yaak Road to Dodge Summit including Caribou Creek Campground are closed.
  • 10 homes and 30 outbuildings is the unofficial number of structures that have been lost in the Caribou Fire, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff.
  • Evacuations:  Full Evacuation Order is in effect for West Kootenai area north of Tooley Lake. A Pre-evacuation Warning is in effect for West Kootenai area south of Tooley Lake, Basin area. 
  • Shelter: the Red Cross has emergency services set up in the Church of God in Eureka, MT located at 1295 2nd Ave behind the First Interstate Bank.

Alice Creek Fire

  • Location: near Lincoln, MT
  • Size: 21,913 acres
  • Containment: 0 percent
  • Structures: 4 confirmed lost
  • Evacuations: Evacuation orders remain in effect for the Landers Fork, Elk Trail, Elk Meadows/Evergreen Subdivisions, as well as the Alice Creek Basin and Tom’s Gulch areas. There are approximately 90 residents affected by the evacuation orders. The Dearborn Canyon residents have NOT received a pre-evacuation notice; however, they should be ready to leave, should conditions rapidly change.
  • Lewis and Clark County Sheriff is authorizing limited and controlled access to the properties for Elk Meadow residents who need access to their property to recover essential items. Residents will be escorted in and out by the Sheriff. 
  • The Forest expanded the area closure as a result of the aggressive and widespread fire activity occurring across the Forest. A map of the Closure Order can be found at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/5410/39087/
  • Shelter: The Red Cross shelter for Alice Creek evacuees is at Wolf Creek Elementary School at 150 Walsh Street in Wolf Creek.

Sunrise Fire (Superior)

  • Location: 11 miles southeast of Superior
  • Size: 26,155 acres
  • Containment: 90 percent
  • Evacuations: Stage II Evacuations were set in place by the Mineral County Sheriff this evening for the Quartz Creek residents. Stage II is a pre-evacuation warning and residents should be prepared to evacuate if fire conditions worsen. This is not an immediate evacuation. The Sunrise Fire became more active yesterday September 3, 2017 and continued movement in the Quartz Creek drainage. Fire managers are concerned with the upcoming weather and dry fuel conditions in the area.
  • Shelter: The Red Cross is prepared to provide shelter at Superior High School for evacuees.
  • There will be a community meeting September 6 at Lozeau Lodge at 7 p.m. to give attendees an update on the Sunrise Fire.

Sapphire Complex Fire (Rock Creek)

  • Location: 25 miles southeast of Missoula
  • Size: 43,308 acres
  • Containment: 53 percent
  • Evacuations: Due to fire activity on the Little Hogback fire and predicted weather conditions, the Granite County Sheriff issued a Level Red-Evacuation Order for some residences along Rock Creek Road, effective Saturday, September 2, at 10 p.m. The Level Red- Evacuation Order was issued to residences along both sides of Upper Rock Creek Road and adjacent roads/neighborhoods, beginning from and including Wild Rose Loop south to Stony Creek. Approximately 35 residences are impacted by the Level Red- Evacuation order. All other Level Yellow-Pre-evacuation notices are still in effect.
  • Structures Threatened: Private property and structures in the Rock Creek, Upper Willow Creek, and Marshall Creek drainages remain threatened. Other resources threatened include fisheries in Rock Creek, grazing lands along the southern boundary of the Little Hogback Fire, Bonneville Power Administration powerline, and a communication site.
  • Structures Destroyed: 1 cabin, 14 outbuildings.
  • Closures: The Rock Creek Road from I-90 south to Bitterroot Campground (MP 23.5) is OPEN. Due to fire traffic congestion and fire safety concerns, the Rock Creek Road will continue to be CLOSED from Bitterroot Campground, south to Cornish Gulch (FSR5027), and public traffic is NOT allowed. Upper Willow Creek Road is currently closed to the public. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest has reduced closure restrictions in the Black Pine ridge area, but maintains all area closures in the Upper Willow Creek, North Fork Lower Willow Creek, and Harvey Creek areas. The Bureau of Land Management has implemented an area closure in the Upper Willow Creek, Ram Mountain, and nearby areas. 
  • Fire Restrictions: Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in place on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest (Forest Service land east of Sandstone Ridge). Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in place on BLM, private and state lands in Granite County, and the Lolo National Forest (Forest Service land west of Sandstone Ridge).
  • Please join the Sapphire Complex and Meyers Fire Incident Management Teams for a joint public meeting this Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 5 p.m. at the Granite High School in Philipsburg. For more information email: SapphireComplexInfo@gmail.com or call (406) 540-3589.

Meyers Fire (Philipsburg)

  • Location: 25 miles southwest of Philipsburg
  • Size: 54,814 acres
  • Containment: zero percent
  • Structures threatened: 119
  • The Montana National Guard have been to deployed to help with fighting the Meyers Fire, located 25 miles southwest of Philipsburg.The soldiers are staffing five security checkpoints around the fire area to free law enforcement personnel for other duties.
  • Evacuations and Closures: The Frog Pond area and Moose Lake residents is under an evacuation order. Additionally, an evacuation warning is in effect on East Fork Rd from FS Rd 5778 to Little East Fork Rd (FS RD 724) on the Bitterroot National Forest.
  • Bitterroot National Forest emergency closure orders are in effect for upper areas of the East Fork Bitterroot River. Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest has an emergency closure order around the fire extending into the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness. A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is in effect surrounding the Meyers Fire area. Granite County is under Stage 2 fire restrictions for private lands in the county. Amended Stage 1 fire restrictions are in effect today which prohibits ALL campfires in southwestern Montana on public lands, including in fire rings and developed recreation areas. 

Sprague Fire (Glacier National Park)

  • Location: 9 miles northeast of West Glacier, MT
  • Size: 13,343 acres
  • Containment: 35 percent
  • Three large fires are currently burning in Glacier National Park: the Sprague Fire, Adair Peak Fire, and the Elder Creek Fire. All three fires experienced high gusty winds from the east on Sunday evening, with both the Sprague and Adair Peak fires having significant increases in acreage. Fire growth moderated on Monday with lighter winds. Lower temperatures and slightly higher relative humidity is forecast.
  • The Adair Peak Fire, was started by lightning on August 10, was detected on August 12, is located in a remote area of the park on the south side of Logging Lake, and is 1,335 acres. Structure protection is being implemented for two National Park Service (NPS) cabins located at the head and foot of Logging Lake, along with the Logging Ranger Station. The fire is not posing an immediate threat to any of these structures. An area closure has been implemented for the surrounding area. Fire managers expect the fire behavior to moderate as this fire enters old fire scars, including the 2001 Moose Fire scar.
  • The Elder Creek Fire lies on the Montana and British Columbia border, and started on the Canadian side on September 2nd. It is currently 1,853 acres, with approximately 80 acres on the US side. Communication between the British Columbia Wildfire Service in Cranbrook and the NPS is ongoing.
  • The Sprague Fire is now 13,343 acres. Heavy localized smoke is causing a reduction in fire behavior which has allowed firefighters more suppression opportunities. Yesterday two helicopters dipped water out of Lake McDonald and worked to cool the fire in the Mt. Brown area and the ridge above the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Overnight firefighters monitored activity on Snyder Ridge and patrolled the Lake McDonald Lodge complex.
  • Lake McDonald Lodge closed for the season on August 30th due to air quality concerns. An evacuation notice was issued on September 3rd for the Lake McDonald area due to fire activity, forcing the closure of the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Apgar Village and Logan Pass; concessions operations in the Lake McDonald Lodge area including boat tours and rentals and guided horseback rides have also closed as a result of this evacuation. Horseback rides and boat rentals are still available in the Apgar area and on the east side of the park.
  • All interpretive programs in the Lake McDonald Lodge and Avalanche areas are cancelled until further notice.
  • Some trails and backcountry campgrounds are closed due to fire activity. Many areas of the park remain OPEN including some areas of the North Fork, Apgar Village, the Going-to-the-Sun Road between St. Mary and Logan Pass, Granite Park Chalet, Two Medicine, St. Mary, and Many Glacier. Please check the park website for current conditions including closures at https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
  • Closures: All park entrances remain open. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed between Apgar Loop Road and Logan Pass. Logan Pass is accessible via the St. Mary Entrance. Apgar Village, Campground, and Picnic Area are open. The Sprague, Snyder, and Lincoln Creek drainages and associated trails, from Lake McDonald Trailhead on the west and Gunsight Pass on the east, are also closed to all use. Visit http://go.nps.gov/glacconditions for trail, road, and campground information.
  • Evacuations: Area residents and Park visitors were evacuated on Sunday. The evacuation order is in effect from the south end of Lake McDonald north to Logan Pass. This includes the North McDonald Road. This does not include the Apgar area at this time. Logan Pass is still accessible from the east side of the Park. The duration of the evacuation is unknown at this time.
  • Structure protection work was completed in the Lake McDonald Lodge area. The Fort Apache Hotshots, along with structure protection engines, staged overnight in the Lake McDonald Lodge area. A night shift patrolled the area. Today structure protection hose lays and sprinkler deployments will be initiated in the Avalanche Creek Campground area. Mop up work continues around the Sperry Chalet. The Mt. Brown Lookout continues to persist.
  • Shelter: the Red Cross shelter for Sprague evacuees is located at Canyon Elementary School, 200 North Street, in Hungry Horse.

West Fork Fire (Libby)

  • Location: 7 miles northwest of Libby
  • Size: 5,760 acres
  • Containment: zero percent
  • Evacuations:
  • The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office on Monday afternoon updated the areas listed under a mandatory evacuation order:
    • 17 Mile Community of Pipe Creek Road
    • Upper Bobtail Road, north of and including Hutton Drive, along with Milton Drive, Bobtail Lane, Verna Court
    • Quartz Mountain Road

    Residents under pre-evacuation warning should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

  • The following pre-evacuation warnings are also in place:
    • Bobtail Road from Kootenai River Road to below Hutton Drive
    • Bobtail Cutoff Road
    • Winter Road
    • Whitetail Road
    • Indian Pipe Road
    • Bull Creek Road
    • Burrell Drive
    • Kootenai River Road, from Quartz Mountain Road to the end of Kootenai River Road (Bighorn Terrace)
    • North side of Kootenai River Road from North Central Road to Quartz Mountain Road
    • Pipe Creek Road from Forest Way and north
    • Forest Way
    • Lodge Pole Way
    • Doak Creek Road
    • Blue Mountain Lookout Road
    • Creekside Road
    • Timber Lane
  • Please, only emergency and local resident vehicle traffic in the areas of bobtail and bobtail cutoff, pipe creek, and Kootenai River Road.
  • The West Fork and Mount Tom fires grew together last night. The fires in future will be referred to as the West Fork Fire. Firefighters will be working on USFS 600 constructing fire line and improving the road as a containment line. Dozers and other heavy equipment will be working north of the Bobtail Community connecting dozer lines to construct indirect containment lines, which will later be used to conduct burnout operations. The structure defense group will be providing point protection and evaluating values a risk. 
  • Shelter: Libby Assembly of God Church, 105 Collins Ave.
  • Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect within the Kootenai National Forest, State and Private Lands, as well as Lincoln and Sanders County.

Liberty Fire (Arlee)

  • Location: 17 miles southeast of Arlee
  • Size: 21,400 acres
  • Containment: 17 percent
  • No evacuation warnings or orders are in effect at this time.

More Stories