Six-Acre Fire Burning Near Woods Bay

By Beacon Staff

Fire crews are working to extinguish a six-acre blaze in the Swan Lake Ranger District, about two miles south of Woods Bay, above Highway 35.

Dubbed the “Old Airstrip” fire, it was caused by lightning Sunday evening, according to Teresa Wenum, public affairs officer for the Flathead National Forest. Two helicopters have been called in and the Flathead “Hot Shot” crew, on their first assignment of this fire season, are assisting in putting out the blaze.

The exact location of the fire is two air miles south of Woods Bay, but north of the Beardance trailhead, Wenum said. Forest Service officials are planning on closing Trail 373, also called the Phillips Trail, in order to keep the public away from the blaze.

As of Monday afternoon, Wenum said the crew, “had a pretty good handle on things” and the cool, wet weather is aiding firefighters.

After Sunday evening’s lightning storms, 25 fire starts were reported to the dispatch center in Kalispell, Wenum said, which includes Forest Service land, Glacier National Park land and state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) land. Out of those, 14 fire starts have been confirmed, she added, and all of those are less than one acre in size.

Wenum also noted that the Old Airstrip fire is burning near homes in the so-called “Wildland Urban Interface.” Forest Service officials in the Swan Lake Ranger District have been working with neighboring homeowners to minimize fire risks around their homes, she said, but the current fire serves as a notice that fire season is here.

“It’s a good reminder for people everywhere to be fire-wise,” Wenum said.

The Beacon will update this story as more info becomes available.

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