Gibralter Ridge Fire update – Aug. 21, 2017 (posted 8/21/17)
The Gibralter Ridge fire is burning on the Kootenai National Forest seven miles east of Eureka in northwest Montana. It is currently 3,554 acres, 19% contained.
3,554 acres, 19% contained
The Gibralter Ridge fire is burning on the Kootenai National Forest seven miles east of Eureka in northwest Montana. It started on Monday, August 7th due to lightning.
As of Monday, August 21st it was 3,554 acres in size and 19% contained.
This fire threatens residences and structures. Residents were initially evacuated, but later allowed to return to their homes. All residents are in pre-evacuation status and an area closure remains in effect for all non-residents.
A Public Meeting to discuss the current fire situation and expected transition to a Type 3 Team is scheduled for Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at the Lincoln County High School Auditorium in Eureka.
Current Status as of Monday, August 21, 2017, 7:00AM:
There are currently 415 personnel working on this fire. Incident Commander is Rick Connell - NR Western Montana Type II Incident Management Team. Crews continue to build fireline and are doing burn-out operations. Hand ignition on the ground brought the fire to Foothills and Grave Creek Roads on Sunday, Aug. 20th. Fifteen miles of shaded fuels break exists along the Foothills and Grave Creek Roads. Fire crews will continue to protect structures and property outside the containment lines.
Closure: Grave Creek Road (Forest Service Rd 114) is closed at the junction of Foothills Road and Grave Creek. Traffic to and from the Flathead National Forest on this road is not permitted. The public is asked to limit traffic along the roadways in the area to allow emergency responders and firefighters safe access to the fire.
Public Information Officer
Phone: (406) 250-8205
Tamarack & People Creek Fire update – Aug. 20, 2017 (posted 8/21/17)
Tamarack Fire on Saturday, August 19, 2017. Photo courtesy Steve Croy.
Tamarack & People Creek Fire update – Aug. 20, 2017
Peoples Creek Fire: 77 acres, 95% contained, mop-up
Tamarack Fire: 407 acres, 50% contained
The Tamarack and People’s Creek wild fires are burning on the Kootenai National Forest and Weyerhaueser lands southeast of Libby. The Tamarack and Peoples Creek fires were detected on Saturday, August 12, 2017, caused by lightning. Fire suppression responsibilities fall to Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). The strategy for both fires is full suppression. Incident Commander is Diane Hutton.
The People’s Creek Fire is located about six air miles east of Libby and three air miles south of the Canoe Gulch Ranger Station, in the Fisher River drainage. It is currently about 78 acres and is 90% contained. Crews are continuing to mop-up and extinguishing hot spots within the fire perimeter and patrolling for heat that could cause spot fires.
The Tamarack Fire is the bigger fire, 407 acres, 50% contained. It is located about ten air miles southeast of Libby, nine miles northeast of Happy’s Inn and Hwy 2. It is about 2 miles east of Calx Mountain Lookout, between Wolf Creek and the Pleasant Valley Fisher River. High humidity and extensive cloud cover have helped to keep this fire relatively quiet. Fire crews are continuing to build fire line around the perimeter, putting out hot spots, and doing mop up. Crews constructed a heli-spot on the remote south end to facilitate delivery of supplies and to provide an evacuation area in the event of an injury. There is a temporary road closure in effect in the area. Tamarack Fire Road Closure map
8 Hand Crews
17 Heavy Equipment (dozers, skidgines, water tenders)
1 Type 1 Helicopter
2 Type 2 Helicopters
1 Type 3 Helicopter
State and Montana Army National Guard helicopters will continue to assist with water bucket drops, when needed.
Tamarack Fire Update – August 17, 2017 (posted 8/17/17)
Tamarack and People's Creek fires burning east of Libby.
Tamarack and People’s Creek wild fires
The Tamarack and People’s Creek wild fires are burning on the Kootenai National Forest and Weyerhaueser lands southeast of Libby. The Tamarack and Peoples Creek Fires were detected on Saturday, August 12, 2017 by a reconnaissance flight over the area. The fires were caused by lightning associated with a storm that rolled through the area Friday evening. Fire suppression responsibilities fall to Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). The strategy for both fires is full suppression.
The People’s Creek Fire is located about six air miles east of Libby and three air miles south of the Canoe Gulch Ranger Station, in the Fisher River drainage. It is currently about 77 acres and is 90% contained.
The Tamarack Fire is the bigger fire, 340 acres and only 20% contained. It is located about ten air miles southeast of Libby, nine miles northeast of Happy’s Inn and Hwy 2. It is about 2 miles east of Calx Mountain Lookout, between Wolf Creek and the Pleasant Valley Fisher River. The Tamarack Fire was first sized up at 10-15 acres, but quickly grew to 300 acres within the first 24 hours.
The Incident Management Team is using J. Neils Park, just north of Libby, as a Command Post. The Park remains open to the public from dawn to dusk, but users should be aware of firefighting equipment and personnel activity.
Fire restrictions are at Stage 2 for Lincoln and Flathead Counties in Montana.
SPECIAL FIRE RESTRICTIONS - STAGE II
From midnight August 11, 2017 until rescinded
1. Building maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire.
2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
3. The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.:
a. Operating any internal combustion engine.
b. Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
c. Using explosives.
A one hour foot patrol in the work area is required following cessation of all activities as identified in #3 above.
4. Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.
Click on this link for additional information about local fire restrictions: https://firerestrictions.us/mt/
5 Hand Crews
5 Pieces of Logging Equipment
220 Personnel Aircraft
2 Type 1 Helicopters
3 Type 2 Helicopters
1 Type 3 Helicopter
Additional local logging equipment including a feller-buncher, an excavator and grapple skidders arrived on the fire on Wednesday. They will be used to clear fuels through the thick timber on the west and southwest sides of the fire starting at the 2346H Road. A dozer line has been constructed on the northeast corner of the fire and extends to where the terrain becomes too steep for equipment. Hand crews are extending that line to the south in the more difficult terrain. Helicopters filled their buckets in nearby Lynch Lake and aided by a quick turn-around were able to help keep the fire from moving significantly on Wednesday. Fire managers continue to scout existing roads and natural fuel breaks looking for the safest and most efficient method to box in the fire.
Peoples Creek Fire:
A fireline exists around the entire perimeter. Fire crews were able to mop-up 50 feet into the interior from that perimeter, and they will be looking to expand that figure to 100 feet on Thursday.
FIRE INFORMATION: (406) 647– 0407, Tamarackfire2017@gmail.com
Public Information Officer
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Fire danger moves to Very High (posted 7/14/17)
Fire Danger Very High
Interagency Fire Officials made the decision this morning (Friday, July 14, 2017) to raise the Fire Danger Level from "High" to "Very High". When the fire danger is "Very High", fires will start easily from most causes. The fires will spread rapidly and have a quick increase in intensity, right after ignition. Small fires can quickly become large fires and exhibit extreme fire intensity, such as long-distance spotting and fire whirls. These fires can be difficult to control and will often become much larger and longer-lasting fires.
Hot, and mostly dry weather will continue through the weekend, with thunderstorms expected tonight into Saturday across all of western Montana. On Sunday, a cold front passage may lead to critical fire weather conditions in northwest Montana as winds become breezy and the relative humidity’s drop.
Elevating the fire danger enhances public awareness that wildfire probability increases as temperatures rise and vegetation dries out. Since July 1 there have been a total of 69 reported wildfires in the area; many were lightning caused; with over half being human-caused. As the numbers reveal, human-caused fires are a contributing factor to the overall fire danger situation.
At this time, campfires are banned on Weyerhaeuser property lands in Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Missoula, Sanders and Ravalli counties due to very high fire danger. Interagency Fire Officials will continue to monitor conditions, and look closely at the number of human caused fire starts to determine if fire restrictions need to be ordered and put in place in the greater Flathead area.
While recreating in the Flathead, please stay on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass, as exhaust pipes and vehicle undercarriages can be very hot and easily start a wildfire. Please check spark arrestors on off-road vehicles, chain saws and other equipment with internal-combustion engines to ensure they are in working order. Never leaving a campfire unattended, and making sure they are completely extinguished before leaving is something expected of every recreationist.
Additionally, an interagency fire information line has been established in order to streamline calls, share facts and serve the public during fire season. The Office of Emergency Services Information Line is 406-758-2111, and the Interagency Fire Fact Sheet can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/FlatheadOES . Fact sheets will be updated as needed during the fire season.
2017 Kootenai Valley Triathlon August 26 (posted 7/5/17)
2017 Kootenai Valley Triathlon August 26th
The 2017 Kootenai Valley Triathlon will be held on Saturday, August 26, 2017. The event is being organized by Libby Christian Church. Events are RUN, PADDLE, PEDAL. 5K Run or 3K Walk, 7 Mile Paddle, 7.5 Mile Pedalve. Start time is 9AM. Early Bird registration ends after August 7. Register or more information at http://www.libbychristianchurch/events or find it on Facebook.
Two female grizzly bears captured in the Yaak (posted 6/28/17)
Relocated bears feeding on lawns near residences
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
On June 20, 2017, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) captured two 2.5-year old grizzly bear siblings in the upper Yaak River area after the bears were seen grazing on lawns at several residences, and accessed songbird feeders. These siblings were previously captured in the Creston Valley area of British Columbia, Canada after being seen near residences on June 5, 2017. Canadian conservation officers captured and relocated the bears in British Columbia near the Montana border to prevent conflict with humans in the Creston area. Canadian researchers fitted one of the females with a GPS tracking collar.
The decision was made to split up the siblings and put as much landscape as possible between them. This technique of splitting up siblings has worked in the past for reducing potential conflict with people. British Columbia offered to take back the female that was collared in Canada, therefore that female was relocated back to British Columbia in White Creek, a tributary of the St. Mary’s River, on June 22 and will continue to be monitored by researchers in British Columbia. The second female was fitted with a GPS collar and released in upper Spread Creek, Montana, on June 21. This female will be monitored by FWP.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks encourages residents to remove songbird feeders and other bear attractants during the months that bears are awake.
For more information, contact Kim Annis, FWP Cabinet-Yaak Bear Management Specialist, at 406-293-4161 or 406-291-1320.
lies in the northwest corner of Montana and is nestled in a valley carved by the
Kootenai River on the flank of the majestic Cabinet Mountain Range and Wilderness
about 2,800 people live within Libby proper. The main industries are lumber and
wood products, mining, tourism and recreation. The movies "The River Wild" and
"Always" were filmed here. Contact the Libby
Chamber of Commerce for brochures, info on lodging and events, general area
information, and contact information for local businesses and services.
When the weather warms and the mountain
snows melt away, the Kootenai National Forest comes alive with over 2.2
million acres of public land as a playground. Mountain trails and lakes
open up, beautiful wildflowers come in bloom, and wildlife have their young.
Libby is the basecamp for the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area, 90-mile
long Lake Koocanusa, the Northwest Peaks Scenic Area, and the Ten Lakes
Scenic Area. There is good access to most of the Forest and plenty of room
to get away from it all!
Winter in Montana means snow, and lots
of it! For those who love to play in the deep powder, the Libby area offers tremendous
winter fun. Turner Mountain Ski Area, located
just 22 miles from Libby, offers challenging downhill skiing with a beautiful
view. Their slogan is "steep, deep and cheap", and Turner definitely
lives up to that. It's still fairly undiscovered, so you can escape the crowds
and get the cheapest lift tickets around. For those who love snowmobiling,
there are hundreds of miles of backcountry roads to sled on in the Kootenai National
Forest. Cross-country skiers and ice fishermen also can find solitude on a lake
and miles of quiet forest trails to enjoy the outdoors. Those who are a bit on
the wild and crazy side will love the antics of the Libby Polar Bear Club.
Members take winter-time "swims" in frigid Libby Creek every Sunday
from October to April. Plungers have ranged in age from 3 to 61. As long as the
ice can be broken on the creek, if it has formed, the group will take their plunge,
no matter the temperature.
These people must be
Polar Bear Club