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Coal Ridge Fire

Unit Information

Flathead National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
650 Wolfpack Way
Kalispell, MT 59901

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Last Coal Ridge Fire Update (9-6-17) Unless there are significant changes

Coal Ridge Fire Wildfire
News – 9/6/2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018; 8:30 am
Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1
Mike Goicoechea, Incident Commander

Fire Information: 406-578-8256 8:00 am – 8:00 pm


Website: Paola: Whale: Ridge:

Flathead National Forest Facebook: Twitter: @FlatheadNF

Special Notes: The Coal Ridge Fire now requires minimal operational activities. Unless there is a significant change, this will be the last report for the Coal Ridge Fire from the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1.

Updated closure info for Flathead National Forest: Closure areas have been reduced, but there are still closures in place. Red Meadow Lake Campground is OPEN. For specific information, please see the Flathead National Forest website or the closure section on the fire InciWeb pages as listed above.


Thursday will be mostly clear in the morning, becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon. There is a 10% chance of dry thunderstorms. Temperatures may reach as high as 80F in the valleys and 59F to 68F on the ridges. Relative humidity percentages could be in the low 20s in the valleys with lows of 36% on the ridges. Winds will be slope driven in the valleys from 5-10 mph with gusts to 20 and from the southwest at 8 to 12 mph with gusts up to 20 mph on the ridges. High pressure continues to build over the area through Friday. This will bring warmer, dryer conditions, which could support more active fire behavior. By the weekend, temperatures should cool by around 10 degrees.

Coal Ridge:

The Coal Ridge Fire continues to show minimal fire activity, and yesterday’s reconnaissance flight showed only one very small area of interior smoke. Any fire behavior remains limited to smoldering and creeping, and fuel and weather conditions will continue to limit fire growth. Crews are backhauling (removing) unneeded equipment from this area and will continue removing slash and debris from the shaded fuel break constructed along Spruce Road, Hay Creek Road, and Moose Creek Road.

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.

The Coal Ridge Fire is now in a state that requires minimal operational activities. Unless there is a significant change, this will be the last report for the Coal Ridge Fire from the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1.

Coal Ridge Statistics

Location:10 mi W of Polebridge, MT

Start date: August 12, 2018

Size: 280 ac.

Completion: 62%

Cause: Lightning

Injuries: 0

Estimated cost



Engines: 2

Dozers: 1

Personnel: 49


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 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:

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.

As of Sept 5, 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 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.