UPDATE: Two Fires Burn in Bob Marshall Wilderness

By Beacon Staff

The Damnation fire blew up from 800 acres to 1,870 acres on Saturday, as officials on the Flathead National Forest manage two fires on the Spotted Bear Ranger District, according to the U.S. Forest Service. .

The forest is not currently in fire restricts, but the fire danger is high in the Flathead Valley, meaning a small spark or an unattended fire of any kind can start a wildfire and it could quickly spread, fire officials warned.

Both fires are believed to have been started by lightning strikes from the storm that passed through the area on Aug. 11. Both are in the Bob Marshall Wilderness area and will be managed so they can play their natural role in the wilderness while providing for public and firefighter safety and protecting values at risk, public affairs officer Wade Muehlhof said.

The Snow Creek fire is burning about 35 acres and is located up the Snow Creek Drainage. The fire is close enough to Black Bear Cabin that fire fighters are starting to implement structure protection, but there is no immediate threat. There may be some future impacts to the trails in the area depending on where the fire grows.

The Damnation fire is covering more than 1,870 acres and is growing to the east and north-east. This fire could impact trail access as well. Managers are working to keep area trails open with crews on the ground to observe fire location and behavior; however trail closures to ensure public safety may occur as fire conditions dictate.

Growth was expected on Aug. 16, as the weather forecast called for high temperatures, low relative humidity and wind. Please contact the Spotted Bear Ranger District before heading into these areas to ensure you have the latest information on conditions: 406-758-5376.

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