Fires Spark in Mountains Near Polebridge

Crews are responding to four separate fires in the North Fork drainage

By Beacon Staff

Fire crews are working to contain a roughly 7-acre wildfire in the mountains north of Polebridge.

Officials with the Hungry Horse Ranger District reported four new sparks in the North Fork drainage Thursday afternoon, including a blaze near Akinkoka Peak between Whale Creek and Red Meadow.

A Type 3 fire management team has taken over the fires in the upper North Fork that are collectively called the Hay Creek Complex.

The Flathead Interagency Hotshot Crew responded late Wednesday to the Akinkoka Fire and an interagency 20-man crew joined in the effort Thursday, along with multiple helicopters and single-engine air tankers, which arrived from Ronan and deployed fire retardant, according to forest officials.

The fire is burning in steep, rocky terrain and fueled by hot, dry conditions. It lies within the Flathead National Forest.

Other fires within the complex include the Hay Creek 1 Fire, which is estimated at 3 to 4 acres, and the Hay Creek 2 Fire, which is roughly a quarter of an acre. The Great Northern Hotshot Crew and a Flathead Type 2 crew are responding to the Hay Creek 1 Fire, which is located in a mountainous area without road or trail access.

Other smoke reports have emerged, and crews are responding, according to FNF officials.

“We believe these are from the lightning storm from the night before,” said Colter Pence, fire information officer with the FNF.

Two separate fires were also reported Thursday. The Trap Mountain Fire is roughly 1 acre and burning in the northwest section of Basin Cabin, in the Spotted Bear Ranger District.

The fire is burning in timber and being managed for multiple objectives including allowing the natural role of fire in wilderness.

The Bear Creek Fire, roughly 0.25 acres, was contained north of Whitefish near King Creek, within the Tally Lake Ranger District. Crews have established a line around the fire and are currently mopping up.

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