Liberty Fire Update September 9
Incident: Liberty Fire Wildfire
Liberty Fire Update
Saturday, September 9, 2017, 8:30 am
Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
Greg Poncin, Incident Commander
Fire Information: 406-272-4354, 8 am – 8 pm
Location: 17 miles SE of Arlee, Montana in the South Fork Primitive Area
Yesterday’s Accomplishments: The continued smoke inversion was in place over the fire and suppressed fire activity until early afternoon. This provided an opportunity for crews to scout and assess existing dozer lines in the southwest perimeter along the 2003 Mineral Primm fire scar to the Rattlesnake Wilderness boundary. Burnout operations were conducted along forest road 4224, to the Belmont road in the Belmont Creek area. Due to increased fire activity, several spot fires were detected and contained following the burnout. Fire activity increased in the afternoon in multiple locations with the most notable growth to the northwest near the 2007 Jocko Lakes fire scar. The southeast perimeter of the fire continues to be a priority and crews focused their efforts to secure lines in the Wild Horse Creek drainage and along Wild Horse road in anticipation of tonight’s predicted winds. On the south edge of the fire, crews continued mop up and line assessment. Structure protection began on the west side of Placid Lake area as a precautionary measure.
Today’s Planned Actions: With a Red Flag Warning in effect for this afternoon firefighters are preparing for an active fire day. The southeast perimeter of the fire continues to be the priority and crews are focusing their efforts to continue to secure and hold lines in the Wild Horse Creek drainage and along Wild Horse road in anticipation of predicted winds. Fire activity continues to increase in the afternoon in multiple locations with the most notable growth to the northwest near the 2007 Jocko Lakes fire scar all the way to the Northwestern Energy Powerline near Second Creek. Crews will also continue to secure and mop up along forest road 4224, to the Belmont road in the Belmont Creek area after a successful burnout operation two days ago. Firefighters will continue to scout and assess existing dozer lines in the southwest perimeter along the 2003 Mineral Primm fire scar to the Rattlesnake Wilderness boundary. On the south edge of the fire, crews continue to mop up and assess fire lines and near the Rattlesnake Wilderness crews will continue to monitor and patrol fire lines. Structure protection began on the west side of Placid Lake area as a precautionary measure.
Weather and Fire Behavior: There is a Red Flag Warning today, from 2:00 to 9:00 pm, due to predicted variable winds, with gusts 15-25 mph. Smoke will linger this morning but is anticipated to clear as a cold front moves into the area. Widely scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop once again during the afternoon but wetting rain chances will be small. Any thunderstorms could produce gusty and erratic winds and lightning. Cooler and somewhat moist air returns for Sunday but breezy conditions will persist. As the frontal passage reaches the fire, high wind speeds will create areas of concern near or along ridgetops and exposed upper elevations. Spotting potential will also increase with gusty winds in the afternoon.
Air Operations: Aircraft assigned to the fire are available for this incident and for initial attack. A temporary flight restriction is in effect over the fire area. Flying drones over the fire is prohibited. If drones are detected, air operations will stop. If you see a drone in the fire area, including the evacuation areas, report it immediately to 406-813-0527. Your cooperation is needed to insure the safety of our pilots.
Closures: An area closure is in place for public health and safety due to wildfire. The closure area begins on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) reservation Boundary line and continues east following the CSKT Boundary along the Middle Fork of Jocko River and Jocko Lake turning southwest; then heading East and southeast crossing Second Creek, Grouse Creek, Buck Creek and Finley Creek; then south to Boles Creek. Continuing due east to Vaughn Creek, then due south crossing North Fork Blanchard Creek, Cold Brook and Blanchard Creek; continuing west crossing Belmont Creek and Gold Creek then turning northwest crossing Spring Creek, West Fork Gold Creek, next to and including Boulder Lake, Wapiti Lake and Crazy Fish Lake; heading north on a straight line until it intersects with the point of beginning.
All trails and roads that are within, and those that make up the boundaries to this area closure, are closed due to the Liberty fire. The South Fork Primitive area of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes is closed.
Due to extreme fire conditions, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) lands in western Montana are temporarily closed to all public access until conditions improve.
TNC joins private timber companies, Weyerhaeuser and Stimson Lumber Company, in closing their western Montana lands to all public recreation, due to extreme fire danger.
FWP helps to manage hunter access and recreation on some private lands, including TNC and some corporate timber companies. Hunters and recreationists should review closures and restrictions before heading out.
Fall hunting seasons and districts are all open as planned, but many areas have wildfire-related land closures, such as these, that affect hunter access and travel. Fire danger remains extreme region-wide, so hunters should use extra caution.
Evacuations: Currently, there are no evacuation warnings or orders
The fire is under the jurisdiction of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Montana Department of Natural Resources (DNRC), and Lolo National Forest
Cooperating Agencies: Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Lake County Office of Emergency Management, Lake County Office of Emergency Services, Missoula County and Seeley Lake Fire, and The Nature Conservancy