Firefighters Prepare Burnout to Battle Blaze Near Ronan

Moss Ranch Fire has burned 289 acres as of Thursday morning

By Justin Franz
The Gibralter Ridge Fire burns east of Eureka on Aug. 8, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

This story is no longer being updated. Visit FlatheadBeacon.com for the latest. 

The Latest 

—Moss Ranch Fire has burned 289 acres and is 10 percent contained

Red Flag Warning issued for east side of Glacier National Park until 9 p.m.

Fire danger “High” on Kootenai National Forest 

Updated: 12:15 p.m., July 25

Firefighters on the Flathead Indian Reservation are preparing to fight fire with fire.

On Thursday morning, firefighters with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes were preparing for a major burnout operation to try and starve the 289-acre Moss Ranch Fire of burnable fuel. The lightning caused fire started on Tuesday is about 14 miles southwest of Ronan.

As of Thursday morning, the fire was about 10 percent contained.

No structures are threatened. Nenemay Road and FB-4000 Road are both closed until further notice.

The fire is burning in grass and timber in steep, rocky and rugged terrain.

CSKT Fire Prevention Specialist C.T. Camel said that burnout operations are expected to take place Thursday and Friday to help fortify the southwest perimeter.

Approximately 150 people are fighting the fire and at least two helicopters are assigned to the incident. A Type 3 incident management team is organizing firefighting efforts.

Hot and dry weather is expected to persist in Northwest Montana well into next week, with temperatures in the 80s. Lincoln Chute, fire service area manager for Flathead County, said that fire danger in Flathead County is currently “moderate” but that can quickly change with warm weather. Chute said that traditionally the Flathead Indian Reservation and the surrounding area starts seeing dry conditions that make the landscape prone to fire two or three weeks before the Flathead Valley. It’s unknown if that will ring true this year.

“Conditions can change rapidly in just a few weeks,” he said.

Conditions are rapidly changing east and west of the Flathead however. The fire danger on the Kootenai National Forest is currently listed as “high.” East of the divide, a red flag warning has been issued for much of north-central Montana, including the east side of Glacier National Park.

This story will be updated when additional information becomes available. 

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