Liberty Fire Update
Friday, September 15, 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: Firefighters took advantage of favorable weather yesterday. Before the rain started, crews made good progress with mop up and snag removal around the perimeter of Grouse and Second Creek. Crews strengthened the line from the Belmont Road to the dozer line along the southeast edge of the fire to the Rattlesnake Wilderness. Crews also took the opportunity to remove heavy equipment, pumps, hose, and miscellaneous equipment that is no longer needed on the fire line. There were no air operations due to cloud cover and rain in the afternoon. Rain began around 2 p.m. and firefighters reported snow at the Jocko Lookout at 5 p.m.
Today’s Planned Actions: Crews will continue to take advantage of the weather as they mop up in the Second Creek drainage. Crews will reduce fuels by burning brush piles from materials removed from fire lines near the Burnt Cabin and Yellow Lake areas on the eastern flank of the fire. Mop up and patrol will continue along the Belmont Road moving toward the Rattlesnake Wilderness boundary on the southwest edge. As fire activity has moderated and fire lines have become more secure, pumps, hose, and miscellaneous equipment will be removed.
Weather and Fire Behavior: Much colder air continues to pour into the Northern Rockies as a very strong storm system moves through the region. Temperatures will be as much as 30 degrees colder over the next few days. Mainly light, but persistent precipitation will continue today and into early Saturday, with snow possible above 5,000 ft. A second, equally strong cold storm system is forecast over the Northern Rockies early next week with another good chance of wetting rain.
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 the 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