The Flathead National Forest is experiencing multiple fires on all Ranger Districts as a result of lightning that occurred in the area since the beginning of the week. Since August 11, the Forest has accounted for at least 22 new fire starts, with 14 of those being on Spotted Bear Ranger District. There are no road or trail closures and no structures are threatened at this time. Firefighters from multiple agencies have contributed to the success of getting initial fires under control, of the 22 new fires, four have been declared as out. The largest of fires is the complex of the Addition Creek, Late Creek and Bear Creek fires, currently at 135 acres on the Spotted Bear Ranger District.
The significant amount of initial and extended attack and heavy fire activity within the region and nationally, has resources spread very thin. Today, the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) increased the National Fire Preparedness Level (PL) to its highest point, PL-5. Locally we are also at Preparedness Level 5. The PL ranges from one, indicating minimal activity, to five, which signals very high activity. The raised preparedness level reflects a high degree of wildfire activity, a major commitment of fire resources, and the probability that severe conditions will continue for at least a few days. Weather has been a contributing factor and will continue through tomorrow as a cold front is expected to move into the region bringing additional lightning and winds.
Flathead National Forest is under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Campfires are only allowed in designated campgrounds that have provided metal fire rings. For more information on Stage 1 fire restrictions,http://firerestrictions.us.
Smoke will continue to be a factor in the region. For daily smoke reports and health advisories visithttp://www.deq.mt.gov/FireUpdates .