Fire in Mission Mountain Wilderness Sparks Area Closure

The Piper fire, a lightning-caused blaze that started Aug. 5, has burned 12 acres in Lake County

By Beacon Staff

The Swan Lake Ranger District has issued an emergency closure order due to fire activity in the Mission Mountain Wilderness.

The Piper fire, a lightning-caused blaze that started Aug. 5, has burned 12 acres in the Piper Creek drainage within the Mission Mountain Wilderness, according to the Flathead National Forest.

The agency closed all National Forest System lands within the areas of Moore Lake, Piper Creek, and Cedar Creek in Lake County.

The fire is located in steep, dangerous and inaccessible terrain. Due to firefighter safety, the Piper fire is being managed with a confine and contain strategy, according to Janette Turk, spokesperson with the Flathead National Forest.

Helicopters are being used to slow the fire’s growth. Fire managers have a plan in place to take action on the fire when ground resources can safely mitigate the hazards.

Forest visitors and residents can expect to see smoke within this area until the fire receives enough precipitation to be considered a season ending event.

The closure boundary is defined as areas west and south from the intersection of Forest Service Road (FSR) 966 and FSR 10383 following FSR 10383 to where Cedar Creek crosses said road in Section 23. The closure boundary follows Cedar Creek to the west to the forks of South Fork Cedar Creek and North Fork Cedar Creek. The closure continues northwest following North Fork Cedar Creek to Cedar Lake. The closure then follows the southern shoreline of Cedar Lake until it reaches the northern boundary of section 19.

From here, the closure follows the northern boundary of sections 19 and PB 40 to the Mission Mountain Wilderness boundary.  Continuing south, the closure follows the boundary of Mission Mountain Wilderness and the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness divide to Piper Crow Pass then southeastward to the southeast corner section of PB38.  The closure then continues east along the southern boundaries of sections PB 38, PB 37, 4, 3, 2, 1 to FSR 966. Following FSR 966, the closure continues north to the intersection of FSR 966 and FSR 10383.

National Forest System Trail (NFST) 119 (Piper Creek) will be closed for its entire length. NFST 738 (Fatty Creek) will be closed from the south shoreline of Cedar Lake moving south to where it ties in with NFST 119. In addition, FSR 966 will be closed from the Piper Creek trailhead moving south.

These closures will remain in effect until rescinded.

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