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Brownstone Fire

Unit Information

Flathead National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
650 Wolfpack Way
Kalispell, MT 59901

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Incident Contact

Spotted Bear Ranger District
Phone: 406-758-5376
Hours: 7 days/week; 8am - 4:30pm

The Brownstone Fire as seen from the Big Prairie Work Center on August 9th, 2018. Photo courtesy Michael Reavis.Image options: [ Full Size ]

The Brownstone Fire was detected on August 2nd. The fire is burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and was ignited by lightning on July 28th.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, August 15th, the Brownstone Fire was active in Brownstone and Cayuse drainages. The fire has spotted and is burning eastward in the head of Cayuse Creek, but it has not yet crossed onto the south side of the creek. The fire also made a run from the bottom of Brownstone Creek up the southeastern face of Brown Sandstone Peak.

The finger over the top of Brown Sandstone Peak and into the Sandstone drainage continues to widen, but has not rolled downhill much at this point. There are a few visible spots in the upper South Fork of the White River, but no growth has occurred.

Additional growth is expected going into the weekend. We will continue to monitor the spread of the fire with ground and aerial resources. Implementation of structure protection continues at Big Prairie Work Center.

Trail and area closures effective midnight on August 18th are pending for the Big Prairie area.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
CauseLightning/ Natural
Date of OriginThursday August 02nd, 2018 approx. 01:45 PM
LocationBrownstone Creek/Brown Sandstone Peak in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Incident CommanderDuty Officer
Incident DescriptionThe Fire Management Strategy Is Point And Zone Protection.
Coordinates47.519 latitude, -113.188 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel12
Size1,920 Acres
Estimated Containment DateMonday October 01st, 2018 approx. 08:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Timber (litter and understory), heavy timber and snags.


Planned Actions

Monitor fire with aerial resources and on the ground at Big Prairie Work Center. Preposition personnel and equipment at Big Prairie Work Center in anticipation of point protection around structures. Crews continue to implement structure protection plans. Area and trail closures expected to be enacted by Saturday, August 18th.

Projected Incident Activity

The fire is expected to be active along the Flathead Alps in the upper reaches of Brownstone, Francois, and Cayuse Creek. The fire is also expected to continue to establish in upper Sandstone Creek.


The Big Prairie Work Center is a major center of USFS operations for the South Fork area. It hosts corrals, dispersed camping, and several structures on the National Register of Historic Places. It is actively used for administrative purposes.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

There is a chance of isolated thunderstorms capable of producing lightning, erratic wind gusts, and some wetting rain on Friday afternoon and evening.