Liberty Fire Update September 14
Incident: Liberty Fire Wildfire
Liberty Fire Update
Thursday, September 14, 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: Weather, low humidity and winds led to active fire behavior on Wednesday. Smoke and fire intensity increased near Crazy Fish Road, but there was very little fire spread. Fire activity also increased near Jocko Lookout, along with some spotting. Helicopters contained a spot fire near Jocko Lookout which had grown from 20 to 40 acres. Fire moved west toward the Jocko Tribal Primitive Area. Helicopters provided air support for firefighters along the northeast edge of the fire near Buck Creek. The west side of the fire remained quiet. Firefighters continued mop-up and patrol of the Belmont Road area. In the southwest portion of the fire, there was activity, but no significant movement of fire near the Rattlesnake Wilderness.
Today’s Planned Actions: Crews will monitor fire behavior and spotting near Jocko Lookout and in the Jocko Tribal Primitive Area which was active yesterday. Crews will start moving hose, pumps, and other miscellaneous and large equipment from Belmont Road while firefighters along the southern edge will continue mop up. Firefighters patrolling along the southwest edge near the Rattlesnake Wilderness may move over to the western edge of the fire as needed. Crews will watch for spotting, complete infrastructure protection of the Northwestern Energy Powerline and continue mopping up along the northern edge near Buck Creek. Aerial resources will support firefighters as smoke and weather conditions allow.
Weather and Fire Behavior: A strong storm system continues to approach the fire and will bring in a much colder and moist air mass to the Northern Rockies. Showers are forecasted this morning with wetting rain becoming likely by the end of the day. As the system swings through, much colder air will overspread the region. An inch or two of slushy accumulation will be possible above 6,000 ft elevation by Saturday morning. Temperatures will be considerably colder with this system, with temperatures down to the high 20’s. Fire behavior will moderate with creeping and smoldering. Due to the extremely dry fuels the majority of activity will be in heavy, down fuels in and along the fire perimeter.
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