POLSON, Mont. – The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for western Montana in effect from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. High temperatures, winds gusting to 30 miles per hour and low relative humidities are expected. Four lightning strikes hit the Flathead Reservation yesterday and more lightning is possible today.
Red Flag Warnings indicate there is high potential for fire combustion, and for any new or existing fires to spread rapidly. During this period of critical fire weather, firefighters will continue to secure and hold firelines on the Blue Bay Fire, as well as monitor unburned areas outside of containment lines for spot fires. Acreage remains steady at 490 acres but containment has increased to 80 percent.
With the increased potential for rapid fire spread, some resources on the Blue Bay Fire have been identified for initial attack. If any new fires occur in the area, a predetermined group of firefighters will stay with the Blue Bay Fire while others respond to the new fires. Yesterday firefighters responded to a lightning-caused fire near Ravalli. The 640-acre Upper Midway Fire, burning mostly in grass, is 80 percent contained.
Smoldering and creeping continue to be the predominant fire behavior on the Blue Bay Fire. Pockets of vegetation will continue to burn actively within the fire perimeter for many days to come. Firefighters will need to remain vigilant on the fireline to maintain safety and keep the Blue Bay Fire in check through the coming days as they proceed with mopping up the fire. Helicopters dropping buckets of water continue to be a valuable asset to fire crews.
Fire behavior on the 190-acre Black Fire has picked up in recent days due to high temperatures, wind and low relative humidities. The lightning-caused fire, which started on July 15, is burning in the Mission Mountains Tribal Wilderness 3 miles north of Black Lake. Firefighters plan to use aircraft today to drop water and retardant in an effort to slow the fire’s growth to the north and east. No closures are currently in place for the Black Fire. The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Division of Fire is coordinating firefighting efforts with the Montana DNRC – Southwest Land Office and Lolo National Forest.
Evacuation Notices: None at this time.
Road Closures: To reduce the risk to firefighters and public, the B-2000 and B-2200 Roads are closed.
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