Kootenai National Forest Fire Update for September 5, 2017

Release Date: Sep 5, 2017  

Contact(s): Willie Sykes


LIBBY, Mont. September 5, 2017This is the September 5 fire update of the fires that are burning on the Kootenai National Forest. The Gibralter, Caribou, West Fork/Mount Tom, Moose Peak, and Highway 200 Complex fires are detailed below.

The Gibralter Ridge Fire is at 7,195 acres, however firefighters will continue to mop-up, patrol and monitor the west, south and east sides of the fire. Firelines continue to hold, fire growth is minimal, and no new structures have been lost. Pre-evacuation warnings and closure orders are in place in the vicinity of the fire areas.

The Caribou Fire is estimated at 19,070 acres at 10 percent containment. A full evacuation order remains in place for the West Kootenai area. The Sheriff’s Office will be escorting property owners back into affected areas to survey their property. Structure protection will continue to be the priority and heavy equipment will be used to build fire line to the southeast of West Kootenai. Area closure orders remain in place for the Caribou Fire. Fire managers will continue coordinating with Canadian fire managers on fire suppression activities.

The West Fork Fire and the Mount Tom fire grew together last night. It is estimated at 5,760 acres with no report on containment. The fires will now be known as the West Fork Fire. Structure protection assessment and evaluating values at risk is now on-going. Firefighters will be constructing fire line and heavy equipment will be used north of Bobtail to construct containment lines which may be used for burnout operations. Closure orders remain in place for the West Fork Fire. The Rocky Mountain Team led by Jay Esperance, assumed command of the West Fork/Mount Tom and Moose Peak Fires this morning.

The Moose Peak Fire, which originated in Sanders County, will now be managed by Rocky Mountain Team out of Libby. This fire is estimated at 4,993 acres. Structure protection and evaluating values at risk is a priority. Closure orders remain in place for the Moose Peak Fire.

The Highway 200 Complex fires include the Readers Fires, Miller Fire, and Cub Fire on the Cabinet Ranger District and Deep Creek and Sheep Gap Fires on the Plains-Thompson Falls Ranger District on the Lolo National Forest. These fires are estimated at 16,362 acres with zero percent containment. Structure protection and strengthening existing containment lines will continue to be the priority.

Area closures are currently in place around immediate fire areas and areas integral to safe fire operations. Firefighters will continue mop-up and patrol of the Reader Fire and will now shift some of those resources to the Cub Fire. There will be a community meeting today, September 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the Community Center in Thompson Falls, MT.

Due to the large number of area fires, air quality and visibility will continue to be very poor. People with smoke sensitivities, should limit their exposure and exertion while outdoors. For more information please visit www.todaysair.mt.gov. Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for Lincoln County and Kootenai National Forest due to extreme fire danger. Protection of human life, both that of firefighters and the public is the overriding priority. Safety comes first, every time.

Current fire conditions can be found at www.firerestrictions.us. Go to the Kootenai webpage at https://www.fs.usda.gov/kootenai for the latest on Closure Orders and Kootenai Forest fire maps. Info on the Gibralter Ridge, Caribou, West Fork, and Highway 200 Complex can also be found at https://www.inciweb.gov.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Libby Assembly of God on Collins Ave. Please go to the Lincoln County Sheriff Facebook page for more details at https://www.facebook.com/lincolncountysheriffmontana.

For up to date information about area fires, please visit any of the websites listed above.

 

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