Liberty Fire Update
Wednesday, September 13, 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
A Red Flag Warning is in effect from 3 pm until 8 pm for winds gusting 22 MPH and low relative humidity.
Yesterday’s Accomplishments: Firefighters prepped the Crazy Fish Lake road and began handline construction from Burnt Cabin to Crazy Fish Lake to monitor and check fire spread to the west and north perimeter of the fire. The fire continues to back into the wind, creating a nice under burn, by Jocko Lookout. The fire is working upslope aggressively, with some crown runs about a mile from the Northwestern Energy Powerline near Yellow Dip in the Jocko Tribal Primitive Area with some long range spotting. Crews successfully contained all spots. There was no substantial movement between Buck and Grouse creeks, and crews worked to mop up. The fire was quiet in the interior near Belmont Road. Efforts to scout and assess existing dozer lines in the southwest along the 2003 Mineral Primm fire scar to the Rattlesnake Wilderness boundary continued.
Today’s Planned Actions: Crews will monitor active fire activity and the possibility of spotting near Jocko Lookout and in the Jocko Tribal Primitive Area and work to complete preparations along Crazy Fish 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 will be a transitional day between the warm and dry conditions we have seen and a drastic overall change to the weather pattern beginning Thursday. West to southwest winds will be steadily increasing today as a strong upper level low drops out of Canada. Moisture will continue to increase but afternoon humidity will still be low enough that elevated fire weather is expected. The dramatic change is expected to start Thursday as the weather system arrives and deepens over the Northern Rockies with wetting rain and much colder air spreading over the incident. The best chances of wetting rain will be late Thursday through late Friday. Temperatures will drop significantly as this system pulls through with snow levels dropping to around 6000 feet by Friday morning.
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 ofConfederated 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