Wildfire

Pre-Evacuation Notices Issued for Hay Creek Fire, Community Meeting Scheduled

New fire starts reported around Northwest Montana; Burnt Creek Fire near Troy at 2,200 acres

By Myers Reece
An aerial view of the Hay Creek Fire near Polebridge. Courtesy of Inciweb

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office issued pre-evacuation notices for 20 structures in the vicinity of the Hay Creek Fire near Polebridge, as the fire has grown to approximately 250 acres and weather forecasts call for continued hot, dry weather with potential wind gusts.

A community meeting to discuss the fire is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Sondreson Community Hall parking lot.

The evacuation notice area, situated in the North Fork, begins at approximately the gravel pit north of Polebridge and includes residents accessing their home from Long Bow Trail, according to a press release yesterday from the Flathead County Office of Emergency Services. It follows the North Fork Road up to Red Meadow Road and then extends west.

The emergency services office said yesterday residents and visitors “who require additional time to evacuate or need to move pets or livestock are advised to begin the evacuation process now.”

Visit the emergency services office’s Facebook page for more information and a map.

The Hay Creek Fire was reported July 21 five miles west of Polebridge. The cause is unknown, although lightning was present in the area during dry thunderstorms on the day of detection. The fire was at 0% containment earlier today.

Fire command transitioned to a Type 3 Incident Management Team this morning and is being managed “under a full suppression strategy using aviation resources and indirect tactics.”            

Several other fire starts have been reported in Flathead County in recent days, including one in the Boorman Creek area west of Kalispell that was about 4 acres as of this morning.

Nine miles southwest of Troy in Lincoln County, the Burnt Creek Fire grew only minimally yesterday despite wind gusts that reached 25 miles per hour. It was almost 2,200 acres this morning at 15% containment. The fire was caused by lightning and detected July 7.

The Great Basin Type 2 Incident Management Team #4 is attacking the Burnt Creek Fire with two helicopters, 10 engines, three dozers and 238 personnel. Wind gusts were expected to continue through today.

The potential for large fire growth will “remain until significant rain or snow arrives on the fire area,” according to an incident update this morning.

The South Yaak Fire, also caused by lightning and detected July 13, is burning at 328 acres in steep, timbered terrain four miles northwest of Troy at 0% containment, as of this morning. The fire grew quickly after initial detection despite heavy initial attack efforts, including support from helicopters and airtankers. The Great Basin Type 2 Incident Management Team #4 is leading the attack.

Elsewhere, the 2,200-acre Dry Cabin Fire is burning in the Scapegoat Wilderness in the Lolo National Forest at 0% containment. The wilderness fire, located 20 miles north of Ovando and 22 miles northeast of Seeley Lake, has transitioned to limited Type 3 management organization with local resources.

“The area also received lightning which may contribute to new fire starts in the area,” an incident update reported this afternoon.

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