UPDATE (Saturday): Latest on Boulder 2700 and Crooks fires
Boulder 2700 Fire Saturday update
Information Phone: 406-530-5107
Location: 8 miles east of Polson
Estimated Size: 1,922 acres
Incident Command: Type 2 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 4, Rick Connell, Incident Commander
Evacuations and Closures: Residents north of Mahood Lane up to mile marker 9 will be able to obtain a permit for re-entry beginning at 10 a.m. today. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office will be issuing permits at the mile marker 2 checkpoint on Highway 35 from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Finley Point residents up to Mahood Lane have been able to receive a re-entry permit since Tuesday, August 3, and can also do so at the mile marker 2 checkpoint.
East Shore residents between mile marker 2 and 9 remain in stage 2 (“SET”) evacuation status. Residents should be prepared to evacuate in the event fire activity increases. All homes from mile marker 9 to mile marker 13.5 remain in stage 3 (“GO”) evacuated status due to hazards and fire concerns in the area.
Highway 35 is closed to through traffic in both directions from Polson at the Highway 93/35 junction to Blue Bay mile marker 15. The speed limit has been lowered to 35 mph within the closure area.
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Current Status: Fire behavior on the west side of the fire is calm, but heat remains in large, woody fuels. Crews mopped up hot spots and visible smokes 150 feet in from the 2700 road on the north fire line, and 150 feet in from the 2000 road on the south. The fire remains active on the east side and continues to move upslope through heavy dead and downed forest, which is largely inaccessible to ground crews. Large, fixed wing aircraft “super scoopers” utilized water from Flathead Lake to cool down heat along the fire’s edges and to reinforce the containment line. Despite higher winds yesterday, tree torching and fire runs were minimal due to the lower temperatures and higher humidity levels. Crews took advantage southwesterly winds to burn out an area north of Station Creek to prevent fire spread to the south.
Planned Actions: Aircraft will continue to be used to keep the fire in check and limit fire spread. Crews will work on primary and alternate contingency lines along north-south roads to prevent the fire from turning from either flank and moving downslope. Crews will mop up and secure around structures, where significant hazards remain including fire weakened trees, burning stump holes, hot spots, and burned infrastructure like electric, phone or propane lines.
Weather conditions will be partly cloudy with temperatures 76-80 degrees. Humidity levels will be 31-36 percent in the valleys. Lower elevation winds will be from the southwest at 8-13 mph, gusting to 20 mph in the afternoon. Ridgeline winds will be from the west 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.
Temporary Boating Restrictions (TBR): There is a TBR in place on Flathead Lake. No boats are allowed from Boulder Creek on the north to Station Creek on the south and one-half mile out from the shoreline. This restriction is in place to support the fire closure area as well as to provide a safe area on the lake for aircraft to pick up water.
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): There is a TFR in place for air space over the Boulder 2700 Fire (FDC 1-0786) to reduce impacts to fire aviation operations. Temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones. Drones are subject to the TFR. If you fly, we can’t!
Crooks Fire Thursday update
Size: More than 1,000 acres
Road Closures: St. Mary’s to the North Fork is closed; Main Jocko Road (1000 Rd) is closed at the 3000 Rd junction.
Resources on the Fires: firefighters
Total Personnel: 100
Managed by CSKT Fire Management
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Arlee - The Crooks fire started by lightning July 21, 2021 in the South Fork Jocko Primitive Area, a unique management area of the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness Area that allows firefighters to use the natural occurrence of wildfire as a management tool to sustain ecosystem values. The fire is consuming thick standing and dead timber that has not seen fire in several decades.
It is also burning in a remote area where firefighters are not able to access. This presents significant safety concerns for firefighters working to keep the fire confined to a small footprint. Their work entails taking proactive measures to protect structures several miles from where the fire is burning in case a weather event pushes the fire west, into the lower elevations of the Jocko Valley.
Weather Outlook: The summer is unusually hot and dry. Under these conditions, a smoke column is likely to be visible from the Gold Creek Area.
Primary and Cooperating Agencies: Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Office of Emergency Management, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, U.S. Forest Service.