Rain slows fires in northwest Montana

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Significant quantities of rain have slowed some of the fires in northwest Montana. Below is an excerpt from an article in the Daily Interlake:

Substantial rainfall — at least by parched Northwest Montana standards — has dampened area wildfire activity. The changing weather and slowing fire activity have allowed evacuation orders to be lifted in the Essex, Noxon and Libby areas.

On the 6,810-acre Northeast Kootenai Complex, which is almost entirely composed of the 6,700-acre Marston Fire east of Fortine, opportunistic firefighters were leaping at the chance to corral the blaze. Fire spokesman Tom Rhode said firefighters were drawing a line in the dirt while they could. “It wasn’t very active yesterday,” he said Monday. “The west side has line on it, that’s the 15 percent containment, about nine miles. Crews are now working around the south and north sides of the fire. It comes creeping down to our lines, but we stop it. It hasn’t moved.”

The Northeast Kootenai Complex received a tenth of an inch of precipitation. More rain — .67 inches — fell on the massive fires burning in the Spotted Bear Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest. Ema Braunberger, Flathead National Forest fire information officer, said the effect of the “deluge” was a welcome one.

“We got a lot of rain and it really slowed things down here,” she said. “We’re in hazard tree removal and are creating that shaded fuel break along the road. It’s kind of nice, like a little park area.”

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.