Fire Update - August 2, 2017
Incident: Whetstone Ridge Fire Wildfire
There will be a Community Meeting at the Granite High School Cafeteria, 407 Schnepel Street in Philipsburg, MT tonight, August 2, 2017, at 7:00 p.m.
The Whetstone Ridge and Meyers fires were detected on July 13-14, 2017 after a recent lightning storm. Several days of hot weather dried fuels and the northwest winds yesterday caused spotting between the two fires. Both fires experienced significant growth and the fires have now merged.
The fire is located 25 miles southwest of Philipsburg, Montana. The fire is burning in Lodgepole Pine, Subalpine Fir, and Douglas Fir in steep, rough terrain. Pockets of Mountain Pine Beetle kill are present throughout the fire perimeter. Mike Almas’ Northern Rockies Incident Management Team (IMT) took command of the fire on August 1, 2017.
Firefighter, aviation, and public safety are the number one priority. An Emergency Closure Order, dated July 22, 2017, is in place for Copper Creek road 80, closed at the junction with Moose Lake road #5106. The Copper Creek Campground is closed. A map of the closure area is available on InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/photos/MTBDF/2017-07-14-1842-Whetestone-Ridge/picts/2017_07_21-126.96.36.1998-CDT.pdf The Ross Fork road 70 remain open to local traffic only.
The Granite County Sheriff issued EVACUATION notices for the FROG POND BASIN, COPPER CREEK CAMPGROUND areas, and the MOOSE LAKE area. These areas are closed for public health and safety due to wildfire.
Critical fire weather was experienced on the fire yesterday. Structure protection efforts in the Moose Lake area were implemented to protect values at risk and local residents were evacuated. No structures were lost.
Crews also continued to construct and improve lines to the north and east of both fires. Crews reinforced hand line to the northeast, in addition to reconnaissance efforts to establish additional line to the north and northeast of the fire, near road 5106. Crews continued to monitor for spotting outside the fire perimeter threatening values at risk and implemented structure protection and initial attack actions as needed.
A new start, Old Dominion fire, was detected on July 31, 2017, and is also a result of lightning experienced in mid-July. The fire is located east of Moose Lake and estimated to be 3.7 acres. It is currently staffed and 75% contained.
Today structure protection efforts will continue in the Moose Lake area. Easterly winds, green valley bottom fuels, and fuel treatments on the north slopes will aid structure protection efforts in the Moose Lake area. Crews will continue to construct and improve lines to the north and northeast of the fire. Crews will begin prepping the 8673 road from Middle Fork Creek to the 5121 road to create a fuel break to limit fire growth. Crews and equipment will work to complete and improve fire line to the east, near road 5106. A masticator will continue to be used to create a fuel break along the 5106 road from the Moose Lake subdivision to the south. Crews will assess fire lines near Moose Lake and improve as needed.
Weather today is expected to be cooler with east and northeast winds along the ridges in the afternoon.
The current Fire Danger level across the forest is Very High. Recreationists are reminded to use caution with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark. Never leave campfires unattended. Pour water and add dirt to your campfire until your campfire is cold. Remember: If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
Smoke Forecast: Philipsburg and the surrounding area residents should expect smoke inversions through the morning. Inversions are expected to lift midday.
Evacuations: The Granite County Sheriff issued EVACUATION notices for the FROG POND BASIN, COPPER CREEK CAMPGROUND areas, and the MOOSE LAKE area. These areas are closed for public health and safety due to wildfire.
Fire Restrictions: Granite County has implemented Stage II Fire restrictions for private lands within Granite County.
Closures: An emergency Closure Order, dated July 22, 2017, is in place for Copper Creek road 80 closed at the junction with Moose Lake road 5106. The Copper Creek Campground is closed.
The Ross Fork road 70 remain open to local traffic only.
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): A TFR encompasses the area over both fires. For more information http://tfr.faa.gov/