Magpie Rock Fire Near Dixon Grows to 1,000 acres

Additional fire reported southwest of Polson, while in Flathead County crews have extinguished 14 human-caused fires in last six days

By Maggie Dresser
Aerial view of the Horseshoe Fire near Polson. Courtesy of CSKT Division of Fire

More than 1,000 acres are burning on the Flathead Indian Reservation as of Wednesday, July 29, according to Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire.

The Magpie Rock Fire is burning about 8 miles west of Dixon and is 0% contained this morning following 20 mile-per-hour winds overnight and temperatures in the upper 90s yesterday.

There are 160 personnel assigned to the fire, which was caused by a lighting holdover last Thursday and reported at 12 a.m. on Monday, July 27.

Revais 6000 Road between Revais and Magpie and Magpie 5000 Road are both closed.

There are no planned evacuations and no threatened structures.

Separately, the Horseshoe Fire 10 miles southwest of Polson is burning 20 acres of Ponderosa pine and juniper stands along the banks of the Flathead River with 0% containment, according to Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire. The fire was reported on Tuesday afternoon.

The fire, caused by an unattended campfire, is a Type 4 incident with at least 45 personnel assigned, including three Type 6 engines, one 20-man Type II Initial Attack Crew, five Singe Engine Air Tankers and two helicopters, which did bucket work on hotspots.

There are no road closures, threatened structures or planned evacuations.

In Flathead County, Fire Manager Lincoln Chute said crews have had to extinguish 14 human-caused fires in just the last six days. At least 12 of the fires appear to have been accidentally started, and Chute said the lack of a fire season in 2019 may have led the public to take “their eye off the ball” when it comes to preventing wildfires. Chute reminded residents and visitors to douse campfires until they are cool to the touch, check for loose chains that could drag behind a vehicle and avoid smoking in dry areas.

“Luckily we’re catching them at this time but as this heat continues we’re going to keep drying faster and faster,” he said. “We just have to take some precautions to limit those human-caused starts.”

The fire danger rating moved to high in Flathead County on July 27, as well as in the Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park, DNRC Swan Unit, Stillwater Unit, Kalispell Unit and other state lands, according to fire managers.

High fire danger means fine dead fuels like cured grass, needles and small twigs can catch fire readily and fires can start easily. Unattended campfires will likely escape.

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