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Crews Brace for Thunderstorms but Make Progress on Gibralter Ridge Fire

Fire managers are preparing for a surge in fire activity given the current weather conditions

The Latest

— Minimal fire behavior and favorable weather conditions helped Thursday but thunderstorms and high winds in the forecast

— Evacuation orders remain the same; no new notices

— Public hearing scheduled for Friday night in Eureka

Updated: Aug. 10, 5 p.m.

Favorable weather conditions and minimal fire behavior helped crews make progress on the blaze burning east of Eureka, but firefighters are bracing for a spike in activity with thunderstorms and erratic winds in the forecast.

The Gibralter Ridge Fire has burned an estimated 1,493 acres since late Monday roughly seven miles east of Eureka in the Kootenai National Forest. The fire is threatening homes and structures and burning in dense timber.

Fire managers are preparing for a surge in fire activity given the current weather conditions and terrain influences. Isolated thunderstorms could also influence the fire’s growth with east winds directing flames towards Eureka, according to fire officials.

A total of 219 personnel are working to suppress the wildfire, including heavy aircraft. Structure protection is underway along with the construction of containment lines.

A public information meeting is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Lincoln County High School auditorium.

The lightning-caused fire has forced residents in the area to evacuate. The following areas are still under evacuation orders: Sherman Creek, Griffith Creek, Therriault Pass Rd, and Stevens Creek.

Other areas, including Glen Lake and Sinclair Cr (south/east of West Road) are under pre-evacuation notice. Residents can sign up to receive evacuation notifications via their smartphone by visiting here.

The American Red Cross and the Eureka community have opened a shelter at the First Church of God, 1295 2nd Ave. E. in Eureka, for those affected by the blaze.

Authorities say all area residents should have an evacuation plan in place, including having all important documents, pictures, prescriptions and pets gathered up and easily transportable. Law enforcement will be patrolling the areas while residents are evacuated.

The Ten Lakes Scenic Area and the Grave Creek Road are closed passed the junction of Foothills Road and Grave Creek Road.

Lincoln County, along with most of Western Montana, is in Stage II fire restrictions, meaning residents are prohibited from burning, having campfires and using charcoal briquettes (only barbecues with an on/off switch). Gas generators are only allowed in cleared or paved areas.