Friday, July 19, 2024

Wildfire on Lolo National Forest doused by smokejumpers

by The Western News
| July 9, 2024 7:00 AM

Smokejumpers attacked a small wildfire July 4 that popped up in a forested area of rural Sanders County.

The 4-acre Fishtrap Fire on the Lolo National Forest north of Thompson Falls was quickly contained Friday after showing moderate behavior. The initial attack included 10 smokejumpers and firefighting crews from the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District and Montana DNRC.

According to Sanders County Wildland Fire Information, 11 firefighters worked the fire Monday and hoped to put it in controlled status later that day.

A 20-person Type 2 crew and two helicopters helped contain the fire and were mopping up on Friday. 

Engines could not be used on the fire due to access problems and firefighters tapped into available water sources with filler pumps to deliver water to the fire line. The cause of the fire was unknown.

The incident was among a few small blazes detected across Western Montana on Thursday.

The Timber Creek incident in western Mineral County, the School Acres Road incident in Sanders County and the MM 85 incident west of Missoula were each less than 1 acre in size. Officials said the School Access Road fire possibly started from an old burn pile.

Fire danger was rated as low on the Flathead National Forest and moderate on the Kootenai and Lolo forests on Friday. However, hot and dry conditions are expected to develop across the region next week. 

Hot and dry weather is expected to intensify over the next week in western Montana.