Crews Prepare for Active Fire Behavior at Thompson Falls Blaze

Various resources totaling 373 personnel have arrived to battle the Copper King Fire

By Beacon Staff
The Copper King Fire burns near Thompson Falls on July 31, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Updated: Aug. 4, 10 a.m.

The Latest

— Copper King Fire burns 1,286 acres

— 373 personnel are battling the blaze, including five hotshot crews, five initial attack crews, multiple pieces of heavy equipment, and 12 engines. Six helicopters are also working the fire.

— A public meeting will be held at the Thompson Falls Community Center on Friday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m.

After favorable conditions calmed parts of the wildfire near Thompson Falls, crews are preparing for active behavior on Thursday.

The Copper King Fire, burning eight miles east of Thompson Falls and one mile north of Highway 200, has consumed 1,286 acres. It was zero percent contained as of Thursday morning.

Numerous resources totaling 373 personnel have arrived to battle the blaze, including six helicopters and five hotshot crews.

According to fire managers, high pressure will build over the fire on Thursday bringing less wind and higher temperatures along with more active fire behavior. An inversion has caused the smoke to settle and is expected to lift sometime this afternoon.

A public meeting will be held at the Thompson Falls Community Center on Friday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m.

The U.S. Forest Service says there is no immediate threat to structures or property. Crews are conducting structure protection and preparation procedures along the Thompson River and Highway 200 corridors. The Big Hole lookout has been wrapped in fire protective material as a precautionary measure, the agency said.

The cooler weather on Wednesday allowed firefighters to continue prepping the ACM Road and identify opportunities for direct and indirect fireline locations. Heavy equipment is preparing to begin indirect fireline construction to the north and east of the fire. Fire retardant drops along the south and west edges were successful in impeding fire spread, according to fire managers.

On Thursday, firefighters will take advantage of the favorable weather conditions and begin constructing indirect and direct fireline. Hot shot crews will begin building direct fireline around the western heel of the fire. To the north and east of the fire, heavy equipment and crews will continue to open up roads and begin indirect fireline to tie into existing roads. Personnel have been able to directly access spot fires and check their spread. Structure protection crews will continue with operations along Highway 200 and the Thompson River Road.

The cause of the fire remains unknown at this time.

This story will be updated when additional information becomes available.

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