Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fire crews remain busy on several western Montana wildfires

Dillon Kato in the Missoulian: Although the weather in the area has been cooler in recent days and brought more moisture to western Montana and Idaho, fire crews are still working on several blazes in the region.

The Thompson River Complex, burning six miles northeast of Thompson Falls, held steady at 1,635 acres on Saturday. Cooler, wetter weather over the past few days helped the firefighting effort. By Saturday, 519 firefighters and their equipment were working on the fire, as well as seven helicopters and four air tankers as needed.

The lightning-caused fires are listed at 20 percent contained overall, with the Koo Koo Sint fire at 55 percent contained and the Marmot fire perimeter at 30 percent. The complex also includes the Spruce fire, and the Sleepy Gulch fire, which was discovered on Aug. 12.

Area and road closures are still in place for the fire, including the Koo Koo Sint Trail 445 and the access road to the trailhead. Big Spruce Creek Trail 1102, Sundance Ridge Trail 433 and the West Fork Thompson River Road 603 are also closed. A flight restriction is also in effect for the area surrounding the fire.

The West Alder fire saw no growth and remained at 82 acres. Rain helped with containment efforts, with 54 firefighters currently working on the fire, burning one mile southwest of Bitterroot Flat Campground west of Rock Creek, about 20 miles south of Interstate 90. No structures or property are currently threatened by the fire....

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