Skyland Fire Growing East of Essex

By Beacon Staff

UPDATE: 12:30p.m. The Skyland Fire continues to burn at roughly 200 acres despite some early morning moisture. Additional resources, including a Type II management team, are being requested. Firefighter crews will arrive today.

A camper in the area and a local fire lookout reported a fire in the Skyland Drainage on the Hungry Horse Ranger District Monday afternoon, 13 miles east of Essex, according to a release issued by the Flathead National Forest’s communications office. The fire, now visible from State Highway 2, grew from 50 to roughly 200 acres over the next two hours.

An aggressive initial attack was underway as of Monday evening, with two airtankers dropping retardant and five crews totaling about 100 firefighters deployed to deal with the blaze.

“This is steep country and firefighter safety is our priority,” Flathead National Forest Fire Manager Officer Allen Christman said in the release.

The Skyland Road, Forest Road #569, is closed. This road accesses the Great Bear Wilderness on Morrison Creek Trail, #154, and Granite Creek Trail, #156. Trail access is also restricted on Mule Ridge, #740, East Skyland, #251, Elk Calf Mountain, #382 and Puzzle Ridge, #264.

The Flathead National Forest will report more information as it becomes available. For alternate access and trail options please contact the Hungry Horse Ranger District at 387-3800.