Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Rain slows growth of Bull Gin wildfires

by The Western News
| September 16, 2022 7:00 AM

A soaking rain on Wednesday slowed wildfire activity on the Bull Gin Complex on the Kootenai National Forest in Sanders County, but smoke is still predominant in western Montana and Idaho.

According to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s air monitoring data at the Libby station, the air is rated moderate in the Health Affects Category.

In the Flathead Valley, it is rated unhealthy for sensitive groups.

According to the Northern Rockies Team 7 Type 2 Incident Management Team, the Bull Gin fires have burned nearly 3,700 acres and are 0% contained.

The Government Mountain Road and the Rock Creek Road are closed to the public. Access is limited to residents and fire personnel only. The Noxon Refuse Site is open regular hours.

Area, road, and trail closures are in place for the Government, Billiard, and Isabella Lake Fires to provide for public safety and firefighting operations. See https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/maps/8381/ for maps and closure descriptions.

The Government Fire, listed at nearly 2,300 acres, has firefighters and heavy equipment continuing fuel removal along the 150 road in the Rock Creek drainage. To the southeast, hand crews utilize chippers to reduce slash from check lines within the 2763 road system. Firefighters will patrol, monitor, and secure control lines to the west and southwest. In the northwest, the fire is holding along Government Creek.

Night operations patrolled the Government Creek Road and southern dozer line. The Rock Lake Fire is controlled and in patrol status.

On the Billiard Fire, listed at a little more than 1,100 acres, where fire has reached control lines on the west side from Fatman saddle north, hand crews are “mopping up” or extinguishing areas of heat working 30 to 60 feet interior from the control line. Hand crews and heavy equipment are constructing additional check line at the top of the 2293 road system. Engines will patrol structures in Blue Creek, Blue Creek Bay, Hillside Lane, and Fatman Road.

Residents along Government Mountain Road and Timber Ridge Road remain in pre-evacuation status.

Also, there will be a community meeting at 7 p.m. Friday at the Noxon Volunteer Fire Department.