Montana Wildfire Roundup For September 13, 2017

Sep 13, 2017
Originally published on September 13, 2017 6:13 pm

At 2:00 this afternoon an evacuation warning was issued for the Apgar area of Glacier National Park in anticipation of a weather change on the Sprague Fire there.

 “We anticipate the warning to be of short duration, as soon as the cold front moves through sometime between six and twelve tonight we are anticipating that we will get somewhere between a tenth and three-tenths of an inch of rain here on the fire."

The warning includes the Apgar campground and Apgar village portions of West Glacier, including West Glacier Village. Flathead County sheriff's deputies and park rangers notified residents today to prepare for evacuation.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for southwestern Montana this afternoon and evening, cautioning residents about stronger winds and low humidity ahead of a storm front that is forecast to bring rain across much of the state, and snow to some mountains areas.

Alice Creek Fire

For the first time in several days the Alice Creek Fire area outside Augusta is not under a Red Flag Warning today. Fire activity is expected to decrease with an incoming cold front that will bring cooler temperatures and some rain.  The Montana Department of Transportation has issued a temporary speed limit of 35 miles per hour in the fire area along Highway 200 and Highway 434. Drivers can expect reduced visibility and fire traffic on Highway 200.

Highway 200 Complex

Sanders County Sheriff Tom Rummel updated evacuation information for the Plains area this afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon, the Sanders County Sheriff's Office conducted evacuations on Swamp Creek Road from Four Corners to the intersection of the East and West fork of Swamp Creek. These evacuations are a result of the fires growth in the West fork of Swamp Creek. At this point, 24 homes are under the evacuation order. This area has been closed by the sheriff's office. Pre-evacuations were completed from Four Corners to 132 Blackjack Rd.

Today, pre-evacuations have been completed from 132 Blackjack Rd. to where it intersects River Rd West.

You will notice members of the Montana Army National Guard manning road blocks. These individuals were ordered by the Type II Incident Management Team to help with road closures, pre-evacuations, evacuations, and any other assistance that may be needed.

Rice Ridge Fire

As of 5:30 this afternoon, the burnout operation on the south end of the fire is continuing as planned. Approximately 6 miles of fire line and shaded fuel break continue to hold along Forest Road 477 between Little Shanley Creek and Cave Creek.

Smoke has been very visible this afternoon from Ovando, Highway 200 and Kozy Korner.

On the eastern side of the fire, helicopters had to stop bucket drops in the McDermott Creek canyon north of Coopers Lake at about 3 pm because wind speeds became too high to safely fly. The fire is still about 2 miles north of Coopers Lake.

Winds over the fire have been gusting to 30 mph.

Cloud cover and cooler temperatures have moved over the fire area which should help decrease fire activity in some areas as evening approaches.

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