Liberty Fire Update September 11
Incident: Liberty Fire Wildfire
Liberty Fire Update
Monday, September 11, 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
Today we honor the more than 400 firefighters and law enforcement officers killed during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. Never Forget.
Yesterday’s Accomplishments: Fire activity increased in the afternoon and into the evening in multiple locations with the most notable growth to the northwest near the 2007 Jocko Lakes fire scar. Crews continued to mop up and secure spot fires and look for contingency lines between Grouse Creek and Buck Creek to the Northwestern Energy Powerline. The fire was also active in the Yellow Lake area and crews continued to scout for areas where direct hand line could be constructed and potential anchor points to stop fire spread. Crews focused their efforts in the southeast corner of the fire to secure lines in the Wild Horse Creek drainage and along Wild Horse road. Firefighters patrolled, mopped up and secured fire lines and spot fires along forest road 4224, to the Belmont road in the Belmont Creek area. The clear skies and light winds also provided an opportunity for crews to scout and continue assessing existing dozer lines in the southwest perimeter along the 2003 Mineral Primm fire scar to the Rattlesnake Wilderness boundary.
Today’s Planned Actions: Increased fire activity on the nearby Black Lake Fire, just north of Lower Jocko Lake, is causing concern for fire managers as it moves closer to the north rim of the Liberty Fire. Operations on both fires are working and communicating daily to monitor fire spread. Crews will continue to mop-up and patrol the active fire line and control spot fires in the Second Creek area. They will also assess areas for contingency lines to the Northwestern Energy Powerline in the area between Grouse Creek and Buck Creek. Fire activity is moving up the ridge in the Jocko Lakes Tribal Primitive Area north of Liberty Creek where firefighters will scout for areas to construct direct hand line and potential anchor points to stop fire spread. The same will be done in the Yellow Lake and Burnt Cabin areas to the west. Firefighters will continue to mop, secure lines and patrol the Belmont Road area on the south edge of the fire and scout and continue assessing existing dozer lines in the southwest along the 2003 Mineral Primm fire scar to the Rattlesnake Wilderness boundary.
Weather and Fire Behavior: Humidity recovery is generally poor to moderate across the thermal belts this morning as drier and warmer air returns. Weak upper level high pressure will build back in for today and Tuesday for a brief return of these warm and dry conditions. Winds will likely be terrain driven today and Tuesday except along the ridgetops where winds will be generally be west to southwest. There will be a small chance for overnight thunderstorms Tuesday night into early Wednesday as the atmosphere begins to moisten up in advance of a Pacific storm system. Rain chances will increase late Wednesday and into Thursday with rain becoming likely Thursday afternoon and into Friday as the system pulls through. Wetting rain chances will be very good with this system along with temperatures much below normal. Very active fire behavior is expected today as weather conditions continue to be hot and dry with variable winds near ridgetops.
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