More crews arrive to help fight Yaak wildfires

August 2, 2018

A Type 2 Incident team arrived Wednesday and began setting up a collaborative camp for both the 213-acre Davis fire and 25-acre Porcupine fire burning the on the Kootenai National Forest.

According to the incident information officer, Shawn Ray-Delmas, crews made the smaller Porcupine Fire their first priority due to potentially hazardous weather conditions, including high winds, in the forecast over the next few days.

Fire personnel started setting up water and landing sites for use in firefighting efforts Wednesday. Ray-Delmas said further updates would be available once the teams get phone and internet lines established on the remote base.

The Porcupine Fire called for the closure of a section of Highway 92 from the junction of Dodge Summit Trail #325 to Boulder Creek Road.

Officials placed another closure order on the Northwest Peak Scenic Area on the Three Rivers Ranger District due to the Davis Fire.

Other closures included all roads and trails in the vicinity of the 20-acre Ten Mile Fire burning in the Rexford/Fortine Ranger District.

All equipment and fire personnel remained on scene at the Highway 37 fire also burning on the Kootenai Forest.

Crews saw no further growth on the 70-acre fire and reached 60 percent containment as fire lines held. Some internal smoke was still visible from the air, but sheriff’s deputies pulled away from traffic control on Highway 37.

Kootenai National Forest and Lincoln County remained in stage 1 fire restrictions, and the Northwest Interagency Fire Zone issued a statement calling for Stage 1 or 2 restrictions across most of the region.

Most of Montana continued to experience moderate air quality on Wednesday due to smoke rolling in from California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, with the exception of the northeast corner of the state.

Forecasts predicted the clearing of some of the smoke in the northwest region over the day, but smoky conditions were expected to remain visible through the weekend.

Both Kootenai and Flathead national forests rated fire danger as “very high” Wednesday, and the rest of the state remained at “high” fire danger with conditions unlikely to improve this week.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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