Flathead National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
650 Wolfpack Way
Kalispell, MT 59901
Fire Information: 406-578-8256 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Website: Paola: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6140/ Whale: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6149 Coal Ridge: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6142
Flathead National Forest Facebook: www.facebook.com/discovertheflathead Twitter: @FlatheadNF
Special note: PLEASE DO NOT STOP ALONG HWY 2 TO OBSERVE SMOKE FROM THE PAOLA RIDGE FIRE. Fire crews are actively working in this area and need to have room to do so. Congestion in this area may prevent crews from working safely and efficiently.
Weather: Wednesday will be mostly clear in the morning and become partly cloudy in the afternoon. Chance of wetting rain is 0%. Temperatures will be 68F to 75F in the valleys and 57F to 64F on the ridges. Relative humidity levels will be 25% as a low in the valleys and 38% as a low on the ridges. Winds will be up slope/up valley and from the southwest at 5 to 12 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. A high pressure will build over the area for the remainder of the week, bringing a warming, drying trend. There is a slight chance of rain and cooler temperatures over the weekend, then cooler, dryer conditions are forecast to continue into next week.Coal Ridge: The Coal Ridge Fire again showed minimal and isolated areas of heat and smoke yesterday. Any fire behavior remains limited to smoldering and creeping, and fuel and weather conditions will limit fire growth. Fire crews and heavy equipment will continue removing slash and debris from the shaded fuel break constructed along Hay Creek Road, Forest Service Roads 1685 and 1671 and Moose Creek. The Coal Ridge Fire is managed with operational objectives of 50% “Confined” (restricting the fire to a defined area, primarily using natural barriers) and 50% “Monitoring” the fire. Operational objectives are 62% complete.
GENERAL FIRE INFORMATION Incident managers continually reevaluate personnel and equipment needs assigned to the fires and make adjustments as fire conditions dictate. Crews are prepared to take initial attack actions on any newly detected fires as needed.
Evacuations: Flathead County Sheriff issued an evacuation warning for a small number of residents near Essex, effective at 12:00 noon on August 15, 2018. For more information go to https://www.flathead.mt.gov/oes or follow @FlatheadOES on Twitter and Facebook. No evacuation warnings are in place for Whale Butte and Coal Ridge fires.
Closures: Closure Orders are in effect on Flathead National Forest within the vicinity of the Paola Ridge, Whale Butte, and Coal Ridge fires. Check the fire inciweb page or the Flathead National Forest website for details: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/flathead/alerts-notices
No fire restrictions are currently in place on Flathead National Forest. Remember to use caution with fire while enjoying your public lands. One less spark, one less fire.
Aircraft Assigned: All aircraft are shared among the fires within Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest being managed by Mike Goicoechea’s Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team. Two Type 1 and three Type 3 Helicopters are currently assigned to the incident.
To date, helicopters have dropped a total of 1.99 million gallons of water on the five fires managed by the Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (Paola Ridge, Coal Ridge, Whale Butte, Howe Ridge, and Boundary fires). Costs for these air operations activities are currently 1.7 million, which equates to approximately 85 cents per gallon of water.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the Paola Ridge Fire area. If you fly a drone over a fire, air operations could be suspended. If you fly, we can’t.