Flathead National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
650 Wolfpack Way
Kalispell, MT 59901
Crucifixion Creek, Strawberry, & Scalp Fires
Rocky Mountain Ranger District
Thursday, September 14, 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 ½ mile to the east of Swift Dam and extends south as far as Sheep Creek on the state land, 17 miles west of Dupuyer; SCALP—Approximately 7 miles due west of Teton Pass Ski Area.
Fire Management: Please note, we cannot get good infrared imagery flights during periods of heavy cloud cover so all of our fire acreages remain unchanged from September 12th. All area closures remain in place. All evacuations relating to the Strawberry Creek Fire were lifted early this morning for residents to return to their homes/ranches. Please note, the roads will remain closed to the public due to a continuing high volume of fire traffic, except for those roads on the Blackfeet Reservation which are now open to all traffic. The fire is still managed by a Type 3 Incident Command Team (ICT) and has a Joint Delegation Authority Letter in place 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. 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 exhibited another day of moderate behavior and minimal growth, with the exception of the south end where there was still activity despite the cooler temperatures and higher humidity. The 2015 fire area is still holding the north and east sides of the fire in check. The Columbine Fire Module Crew assumed fire monitoring presence of this fire effective today. Rain began to fall yesterday evening and has continued through the night and into this morning. In the short term, fire personnel will monitor fire behavior as this weather pattern passes through. The Rocky Mountain Ranger District hosted a public meeting in Heart Butte yesterday evening. 44 community members attended and received updates regarding the Crucifixion Creek, Strawberry, and Scalp Fires.
Strawberry Fire Update (11,325 Acres): Yesterday crews reinforced the lines they started Tuesday with a combination of dozer and handlines. The fire did not extend beyond Sheep Creek on the State land to the south and is no more than 1/2 mile to the east from Swift Dam. Crews did battle with wind-driven spot fires throughout Wednesday, but with the help of helicopter water drops they were able to contain them. We also had two Fire Module Teams arrive yesterday. One from the Flaming George in Utah and the other from Columbine in Colorado. These teams are typically sought for their highly specialized skills in the implementation of long-term planning, ignitions, holding, suppression, prescribed fire preparation, hazard fuel reduction, and fire effects monitoring. The rain is allowing crews to refurbish today and prepare for the expected drying forecasted for the weekend. On the Flathead National Forest Side, the fire continued to burn in the upper reaches of Strawberry Creek. The fire has remained on top of the ridge between Cap Mountain and Winter Points and has not yet progressed down into Cox Creek. The area closure was expanded on 9/12 to include the Cox Creek drainage. Fire monitoring and structure protection continue at Sabido Cabin. 2
Scalp Fire Update (16,958 Acres): On the Flathead National Forest, the fire continued to move east of Grimsley Park and was active on the north side of the Trail Creek drainage. There was limited activity in Clack and Open Creek drainages. Crews continue to monitor the fire from Gooseberry and Wrong Creek Cabins. On the Rocky Mountain Ranger District, the fire’s southeast edge has slowly moved to about ½ - ¾ 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: Fire behavior should be somewhat subdued today as a result of overnight rain that continued into this morning. Higher humidity and colder temperatures, combined with continued rain and snow at higher elevations will affect much of the region. Precipitation amounts will be the lowest for those areas along and to the north of Highway 2. Expect a drying trend Saturday night through Monday morning before another period of rain and snow affect the region Monday through Thursday.
Public Meeting Schedule:
Wednesday, September 20, 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 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.