—Public hearing to be held about Ten Mile Fire tonight in Trego
—Garden Creek Fire torches 500 acres near Hot Springs
—NWS says temperatures in high 90s expected by end of week
Updated: Aug. 6, 4:23 p.m.
Wildfires burning across Northwest Montana grew significantly over the weekend and firefighters are bracing for what that National Weather Service says could be “the hottest week of the summer.”
As of Aug. 6, there were at least six major fires in Northwest Montana, from deep in the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the Idaho border.
Lincoln County remains the hottest spot for fires this week. The Ten Mile Fire on the east side of Lake Koocanusa has burned 525 acres and is 20 percent contained. At least two helicopters are being used to douse hotspots and firefighters plan on using heavy equipment to reinforce fire lines that have been dug around the fire. A Type 2 incident management is currently organizing firefighting efforts. A public meeting about the fire is being held at the Trego Civic Center at 7 p.m.
On the other side of Lake Koocanusa, the Porcupine Fire has burned 17 acres and was listed at 85 percent. Firefighters were expected to be wrapping their efforts up on Aug. 6 and would monitor the fire in the coming days. The Davis Fire, near Yaak, is 375 acres and currently listed at 10 percent contained. The fire is expected to continue to grow as temperatures increase throughout the week. The Highway 37 Fire, just north of Libby, is currently 70 acres and is 80 percent contained.
Near Hot Springs, about 165 firefighters were battling the Garden Creek Fire, which has burned 524 acres and is 5 percent contained. Firefighters are using explosives to build fire line in particularly rocky areas and they hope to get the fire contained before warmer weather arrives.
In the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Brownstone Fire has burned 269 acres. Firefighters were not actively trying to douse the fire but instead preparing the nearby Big Prairie Work Center in case it made a run in that direction.
The National Weather Service was warning firefighters and residents to prepare for extreme temperatures, particularly on Aug. 9 and 10, when it is forecast to be in the high 90s in the Flathead Valley.
This story will be updated when additional information becomes available.