A Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 has taken over command of what is now being called the West Lolo Complex wildfires.
The team took over command of the wildfires that are burning on the Superior and Plains-Thompson Falls Ranger Districts at 6 a.m. Friday.
Several wildfires were sparked by thunderstorms that rolled over the area on Wednesday.
A total estimated 220 acres have burned so far and 140 people have been assigned to the West Lolo Complex.
Fire managers note crews are focusing on wildfires that are nearby or threatening infrastructure, buildings, recreational facilities, or private property.
Air resources, smokejumpers, ground crews, engines, and heavy equipment are being used to suppress the fires.
The blazes are burning in mature timber including dead and downed trees.
Fire managers note the West Lolo Complex has been active with running flames and group torching.
Firefighters are also expecting new wildfires to emerge over the coming days due to increased temperatures and drying fuel moisture.
Fire managers say limited firefighter resources are focusing their efforts on fires located on the Superior Ranger District due to the high probability of success in containing these fires which include Sunset, Thompson, and Deep Lookout Mountain.
Superior Ranger District:
- Sunset Fire: located up on the Dry Creek Divide, eight miles south of St. Regis.
- Deep Lookout Mountain Fire: located on the upper reaches of the Deep Creek Drainage, north of I-90, 12 miles east of Superior, and five miles west of Stark Mountain Lookout.
- Thompson Fire: The fire is located 2.5 miles southwest of Superior, MT on the east side of Thompson Creek, approximately 1.5 miles up the Thompson Creek drainage from Superior. The fire is holding at 3-5 acres.
Crews are working to gain access to the Sunset and Deep Lookout Mountain fires. Heavy equipment is being used to clear or improve existing roads to access the fires’ perimeter. It is anticipated that firefighters will gain access to the fires Friday and begin direct fire suppression efforts. Two Type 1 or Hotshot crews will arrive in the coming days.
Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District:
- Siegel Fire: Located 3-4 miles up the Siegel drainage northeast of Quinn’s Hot Springs
- Quinns Fire: Located about ½ mile east and on the ridge above Quinn’s Hot Springs
- Sheep Creek Fire: located on the west of the Clark Fork River across from Quinn’s Hot Springs, ½ mile of the ridgeline, and visible from Highway 135 and Highway 200.
- Winniemuck, Thorne Creek, and Deep Creek: North East of Thompson Falls in the Cube Iron/Silcox area
Aviation resources will be utilized on the fires in the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District to limit fires spread with water drops and retardant. Smoke will be visible from these fires and, at times, could be significant. Fire managers are continually monitoring all fires and will reprioritize the use of limited resources if values at risk change.
Firefighters are making good progress on the Sheep Creek and Quinns fires constructing containment lines around the fire perimeters. A plan is being developed for access to and suppression of the more remote Siegel Fire.
Quinn’s Hot Springs is not threatened, no other structures or infrastructures are threatened, and there are no closures in place at this time.
Area closures are expected to soon be issued for all Lolo National Forest lands in the area between and including the Graves Creek Road, Marmot Peak Trail, and Priscilla Peak/Sundance Ridge Trail.
Currently, the Stark Divide Trails are closed as well as Sunset Trail #234, Trail #203, and Trail #1195.