Pre-evacuation notice issued for Tenmile Fire
The Kootenai National Forest on Sunday confirmed eight new fires on the forest after a brief but strong thunderstorm passed over the area.
Pre-evacuation orders were issued in Lincoln County on Sunday after the dry lightning storm ignited four new fire starts within or next to the Tenmile Fire’s closure area.
The Tenmile (666 acres), Pinkham Tower (335 acres), Huckleberry and Cliff (211 acres), and the Swamp Creek (1 acre) fires combined have burned about 1,241 acres. The complex is about 19 miles southwest of Eureka.
The pre-evacuation notice is in place for the upper ends of Edna Creek Road, Lake Creek Road, Sutton Ridge and Swamp Creek Road. Residents in those areas are advised to be prepared to evacuate on short notice with important belongings, medicines and pets prepared to leave.
People are advised to check the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page or call 406-293-6295 for the most up-to-date information on evacuations.
A structure protection group is assessing structures in the Edna Creek, Lake Creek and Swamp Creek areas to develop a plan for structure protection should it be needed.
Fire lines on the Tenmile Fire held through the storm and wind event Saturday, and one 9-acre spot fire on the northwest side was picked up and kept from growing.
The northernmost fire in the complex, the Pinkham Tower Fire, started near Pinkham Mountain and burned up and around the communications sites.
Fire crews had done fuels reduction and protection preparation around the communications sites, which is minimizing damage to the tower infrastructure, according to the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team.
255 personnel are working the Tenmile Fire, which is estimated to be 30 percent contained. Aircraft support will be used as available and needed.
A public meeting was scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at the Trego School in Trego.
The Davis Fire blew up to 5,218 acres as of Sunday afternoon and was 5 percent contained. Burning 10 miles northwest of Yaak, the fire increased almost three fold Saturday, increasing from 1,700 acres to about 5,200 acres due to Red Flag weather conditions and 20 mph wind gusts.
According to a media release from the Kootenai Forest, crews continue to hold the fire line along the southern perimeter of the Davis Fire and build indirect line southwest near Davis Creek. Firefighters are searching for opportunities to tie the southern fire line to natural barriers on the southwest corner of the fire.
Additional fire growth is anticipated to the east and northeast. Crews were working to protect the Garver lookout tower and cabin as a precaution.
The closure area around the Davis Fire remains in effect and is expected to expand.
A public meeting was planned for Sunday, Aug 12 at 5 p.m., at the Yaak Fire Station.
The Surprise Gulch Fire is approximately 20 acres and is in the area of Lynx Creek and King Mountain. Smoke and flames were visible Sunday from Highway 56 and U.S. 2.
Near Lake Koocanusa, the Gold Hill Fire was estimated at 50 acres and was burning a remote area west of Highway 37.
The Kootenai Forest still has Stage I Fire Restrictions in effect.