Liberty Fire Update September 12
Incident: Liberty Fire Wildfire
Liberty Fire Update
Tuesday, September 12, 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: A substantial increase in fire activity occurred yesterday afternoon southeast of the Jocko Lookout in the northwest part of the fire. Winds from the west and northwest helped minimize fire spread, along with retardant drops from Single Engine Air Tankers. There was also some activity east of Yellow Dip into the Jocko Tribal Primitive Area. Hose lays helped keep the fire in check in the northeast corner where it has not yet reached the Northwestern Energy Powerline. Firefighters continued to mop and patrol areas to the south in the Belmont Road area. To reduce fire spread,
the Type 1 helicopter dropped water on the fire in the southwest near the Rattlesnake Wilderness boundary where smoldering and moderate fire activity was observed.
Today’s Planned Actions: Dry air on Tuesday, coupled with a wind change to the west and southwest, will increase fire behavior in the northeast part of the fire. Crews will monitor increased fire activity near Jocko Lookout and in the Jocko Tribal Primitive Area and work to complete preparations along Crazy Horse Lake road south to White Horse Lake. Firefighters will mop up and patrol extensively in the Second Creek area and prep a contingency line west of Buck Creek between Buck and Grouse creeks. Crews will continue to mop up and patrol in the Yellow Lake and Burnt Cabin areas to the west as well as secure lines and patrol the Belmont Road area on the south edge of the fire. Efforts to scout and assess existing dozer lines in the southwest along the 2003 Mineral Primm fire scar to the Rattlesnake Wilderness boundary will continue.
Weather and Fire Behavior: Today, expect very active fire behavior as weather conditions continue to be hot and dry. This fire behavior is expected primarily in the Yellow Lake and Primitive areas where there was a visible plume on Monday afternoon. Winds will likely be terrain driven once again, except along the ridgetops, where winds will generally be out of the west and southwest. A dramatic change in weather is expected Thursday, as a Pacific storm system arrives and spreads wetting rain and much colder air over the fire’s perimeter. The best chances of rain are expected to be late Thursday afternoon through mid-day Friday. Temperatures are expected to drop to below normal levels Thursday through Saturday.
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