At least 11 major fires are burning across Northwest Montana today as the region prepares for another week of warm weather.
On Sunday, Gov. Steve Bullock declared a fire emergency for the entire state in an effort to provide additional resources to firefighters on the ground. The declaration means that the Montana National Guard will be mobilized to fight fires around the state.
“Montana is facing extreme fire conditions. This declaration will provide additional resources to the brave men and women fighting these fires,” Bullock said. “As firefighters continue to battle blazes across the state, I encourage Montanans to be aware of fires in their area, obey any evacuation orders that may be issued, and ensure they’re not taking actions that might spark new fires.”
One of the most active blazes near the Flathead Valley is the Marston Fire in Fortine. As of Sunday, the fire is about 1,500 acres and is threatening the Kootenai National Forest’s Marston Lookout. A Type II incident management team was put in place Sunday to manage the Marston Fire and others that are part of the Northeast Kootenai Complex. The complex includes the Marston, Barnaby, Sunday, Weigel and Dunn fires. A community meeting is being held at the Trego Civic Center tonight at 7 p.m. where the public can learn more about the fires.
The Thompson Fire in Glacier National Park remains the largest blaze in the state and as of Sunday had burned more than 13,000 acres of land north of Nyack. The fire is actively burning in the Thompson Creek and Nyack Creek drainages west of Medicine Grizzly Peak on the Continental Divide. The fire has resulted in the closure of numerous backcountry trails and campgrounds.
The lightning that rolled through the region on Friday sparked another fire in Glacier Park this weekend. The Waterton Fire located near Waterton Lake has burned about 25 acres of land near the Canadian border. Because of its location, a Canadian Type II incident management team has been assigned to that blaze.
The Reynolds Creek Fire on the east side of the park continues to burn. As of Sunday it had scorched more than 4,000 acres of land near St. Mary.
On the Flathead Indian Reservation, the Melton 1 Fire has burned more than 3,000 acres of land west of Charlo. The fire started during Friday’s lightning storm and no structures are threatened at this time.
There are three large fires burning on the Flathead National Forest this weekend forcing closures in the Spotted Bear Ranger District. The largest of them is the Trail Creek Fire and has torched 2,500 acres of land. The Bear Creek Fire, which has been burning since last week, has torched 200 acres of land. And the Flat Creek Fire has burned about 40 acres of land.