Fire Update – Thursday Afternoon at 5:11PM

Quick Notes:

  • Highway 2 Closed Near Essex – Highway 2 is closed effective immediately at the location of the existing pilot cars.  This is at approximately milepost 176.8 and 185.  This is due to the potential for advance of the Sheep Fire toward the highway. Residents will not be allowed reentry. This will be in place until further notice.
  • Mandatory Evacuation of Essex – Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry has ordered a mandatory evacuation of Essex and the surrounding area because of increased activity on the Sheep Fire. All residents need to evacuate the area in an orderly fashion. Sheriff’s Deputies will be informing residents who are affected by this order. An evacuation center is being established by the American Red Cross at the West Glacier Elementary School.  For more information on the evacuation, call the Flathead County Office of Emergency Services at 406-758-2111. There will be a public meeting tonight at the West Glacier Elementary School at 8:00 p.m. It will be held in the gym of the school at 160 Old Bridge Road in West Glacier. For more information see the Thompson Divide Complex Inciweb website.
  • The smoke looks about the same here this morning, although the news said that it might clear off by Saturday. The Montana Deportment of Environmental Quality has upgraded our air quality from “Unhealthy” to “Very Unhealthy”. Real all about what that means here.
  • Good news. Bill Fordyce is at Cyclone lookout looking out for us.
  • Molly sent word that there is a new reader board as you turn from the NFRd onto Trail Creek Road with official notices about fire status, applicable restrictions and closures. Let your friends and neighbors who don’ have access to the internet know about this useful resource.
  • A notice was sent out from the Kootenai National Forest that said… “Grave Creek/Trail Creek Road #114 is restricted past the gate at Birch Creek Recreation Site to the boundary with the Flathead Forest in T37N R24W Section 34.” We didn’t know what “restricted” meant, so we called up the ranger station and asked, can folks from the North Fork get through to 93 via Trail Creek. She said “no.” And for a very good reason, there’s a fire over there!

There are fires all around, but none threatening the North Fork right now. The NRCC map is interesting, however.

Fire Map

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Delay in Opening Area for Firewood Until Oct 2 – Oct 22, 2015

Due to the extreme fire conditions throughout the Flathead National Forest, the Tally Lake Ranger District will delay the opening of the firewood area in the Logan Creek drainage until October.

The Tally Lake Ranger District will open approximately 6 miles of road for personal-use firewood gathering in the Logan Creek drainage.  This will allow temporary access for woodcutting on some roads that are normally closed to public motorized traffic yearlong.   The area is expected to be open from dawn (approximately 8:00 a.m.), Friday, October 2 until midnight Thursday, October 22, 2015. Continue reading

On a smoky day, celebrating the North Fork

The Hungry Horse News reports that despite a thick smoke in the skies, it was a day of celebration in the North Fork Monday as dignitaries, private citizens, and businesses gathered in Blankenship to recognize the North Fork Watershed Protection Act.
The Act, passed last December, bans all future energy leases on Forest Service lands in the drainage. The Canadians, in turn, also passed legislation to ban oil and gas leases in the watershed as well. Read the full story here.

Apgar Lookout Trail Reopens in Glacier National Park

The Apgar Lookout Trail is now open. The trail was previously closed for public safety while a National Park Service communications tower and building were removed and replaced on Apgar Mountain. The Apgar Lookout tower is still closed. Apgar Mountain is located on the west side of Glacier National Park overlooking Lake McDonald. Continue reading

East Side Access to Logan Pass Extended

The last day to access Logan Pass by vehicle from the east side of Glacier National Park will be Sunday, October 4th. Vehicle traffic will be restricted on the east side near the St. Mary Campground beginning Monday, October 5th to allow for fall season rehabilitation on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Vehicle access to Logan Pass will be available from the west side of the park through the 3rd weekend in October, weather permitting. Continue reading