Flathead National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
650 Wolfpack Way Kalispell Montana 59901
Kalispell, MT 59901
Crucifixion Creek, Strawberry, & Scalp Fires - Rocky Mountain Ranger District
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Contact: Rocky Mountain Ranger District, 406-466-5341
Media Contact: Duane Buchi, (406) 750-8934
Location: CRUCIFIXION CREEK Approximately 10 miles west of Heart Butte, in the Badger-Two Medicine area; STRAWBERRY —Eastern edge of fire is approximately 1/4 mile into the flats beyond the rocky reef extending to the south from Swift dam, 17 miles west of Dupuyer; SCALP—Approximately 7 miles due west of Teton Pass Ski Area.
Fire Management: Please note, the scheduled infrared flight did not occur last night due to aircraft maintenance discrepancies. We’re expecting to get flights over our fire areas tonight. Until then, our acreages have remained as reported yesterday. The Type 3 Incident Command Team (ICT) is executing a pre-planned, long-term management plan that outlines precise management actions for each fire’s likely long duration. As an additional preplanning point, a Joint Delegation Authority Letter involving Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs Blackfeet Agency, Blackfeet Tribe, Blackfeet Tribal Police, Montana Department of Natural Resources, and the County Sherriff and Commissioners for Glacier, Pondera, and Teton Counties was completed Monday morning, September 11. This Joint Delegation of Authority Letter delegates fire management authority to the ICT3 Team for all fires across multiple jurisdictions.
Crucifixion Creek Fire Update (10,080 Acres): This fire saw little growth today with most of the observed activity occurring on the north and northeast side where it still is bumping into the 2015 burn area with little movement beyond its boundary. There is still burning occurring on Goat Mountain and there is an expectation it will burn into the North Fork of Badger where it will likely burn back into itself. As it does, there is good possibility for large smoke plumes as it burns through some of the timber in North Badger before burning into itself. Lookouts are in place to monitor the fire area.
Strawberry Fire Update (11,325 Acres): Crews realized success in holding the line yesterday afternoon as the fire tried to make a move out into the prairie south of Swift Dam. The Chief Mountain Hotshots, numerous volunteer fire departments, the Department of Natural Resources, the Blackfeet Tribal Agency, Pondera and Teton County resources, and local ranchers teamed together in stopping the fire’s progress. We also had great aviation support throughout the day. In total there were 4 large air tanker (LAT) and 2 very large air tanker (VLAT) drops of retardant combined with 14 water drops from two superscoopers, and numerous water drops from a variety of rotary winged aircraft. There were no injuries and no structures lost. The Chief Mountain Hotshots along with the new Twin Peaks Initial Attack Crew out of Draper, Utah, are rested and reengaged as of this morning to reinforce yesterday’s work and keep a wary eye as the fire is wants to continue flanking to the south and hook around back toward the open grass. The fire has moved down to the state land on Sheep Creek, south of Swift Dam. A full complement of fixed wing and rotary aviation are available to support today unless other priority fires have need of them. On the Flathead National Forest, the southwest edge of the fire continues to burn to the southwest, closing the gap between the Strawberry Creek and Scalp Fires. There is a standing night patrol around Swift Dam for the foreseeable future. All previous evacuations and pre-evacuations
are still in effect. The evacuations notifications carried out by Pondera County Sheriff, Teton County Sheriff, and the Blackfeet Tribal Police, included those residences/ranches residing within a line drawn from Heart Butte to Birch Creek and then from Birch Creek to Ben English Coulee. Additionally, pre-evacuations were initiated for the remaining residences down the Swift Dam Road to include Dupuyer. Direct any evacuation questions to the Pondera County Sheriff at (406) 271-460, Teton County Sheriff at (406) 466-5781, or the Blackfeet Tribal Law Enforcement Dispatch at (406) 338-4000.
Scalp Fire Update (16,958 Acres): Most of the activity on the fire was to the east around Mount May and to Grimsley Park. The fire progressed up Trail Creek. There was also some activity at the Bowl and Strawberry Creek confluence, and limited activity in Clack and Open Creek drainages. On the Rocky Mountain Ranger District, the fire’s southeast edge has slowly moved to about one mile from the Wrong Creek Cabin. Crews continue to monitor the fire from Gooseberry and Wrong Creek Cabins.
Heart Butte Air Quality: Air quality across the Rocky Mountain Front, to include Heart Butte is forecasted as "Good" today. A smoke monitor is in place at Heart Butte, and information can be accessed through this site: https://wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/smoke.pl. Click on the red location bubble that is numbered #3015 for information on the Heart Butte area. This data is time delayed by 6 hours.
Weather: A cold front is slowly moving southward through the region, with a wind shift to the northwest/north behind it. Scattered showers are expected today over Central/Southwest MT and will increase tonight. Widespread rain/mountain snow expected for Thursday through Saturday. Total storm precipitation amounts will be the lowest north of Highway 2. This anticipated moisture will help slow progression of all three fires.
Public Meeting Schedule:
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Heart Butte School-Multi-Purpose Room
Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Dupuyer Community Hall
Additional Information: A NEW PUBLIC AUTOMATED INFORMATION LINE was established for Alice Creek, Park Creek, Crucifixion Creek, Strawberry Creek, Scalp, & Rice Ridge Fires. This number is (406) 495-3767. It will connect you with the latest information on Forest area closures, fire information contacts, and even who you could call if you wanted to make a donation to volunteer firefighters.