Sunrise Fire west of Missoula adds another 600 acres

sunrise fire briefing

Above: Safety Officer Breck Hudson speaks at the Sunrise Fire operational period briefing. Undated photo by Jennifer Russell.

(Originally published at 10:33 a.m. MDT July 28,2017)

The Sunrise Fire in Western Montana has continued to spread over the last two days at a moderate pace, eating up another 500 to 1,000 acres each day 39 miles northwest of Missoula and 6 miles south of Riverbend.

At the time of the last mapping flight Thursday night it had grown by about 600 acres in the previous 24 hours to a total of approximately 4,300 acres. As on previous days, most of the spread was on the east side where it is now about 2 miles west of the Clark Fork River. In that area the fire at times has been exhibiting extreme fire behavior with long-range spotting taking place.

It has the highest priority ranking of the 28 large fires in the Northern Rockies Geographic Area, which means Shawn Pearson’s Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team would be at the top of the list to obtain the firefighting resources they need. As of Thursday evening the resources assigned included 13 hand crews, 12 fire engines, and 4 helicopters for a total of 443 personnel.

Map sunrise fire
Map of the Sunrise Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 10:30 p.m. MDT July 27, 2017. The white line was the perimeter about 48 hours earlier. Click to enlarge.

Not a great deal of information is available about the fire, but as of mid-day on Thursday an evacuation was in effect for Quartz Flats, and the Quartz Flats Campgrounds off Interstate 90 Eastbound and Westbound are either closed or under evacuation orders.

Friday’s weather forecast for the fire area calls for 87 degrees, 21 percent relative humidity, and northwest winds of 5 to 7 mph. About the same conditions are predicted for Saturday.

All articles about the Sunrise Fire can be found HERE, with the most recent at the top of the page.

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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.