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Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update

Posted By: Tony Bynum

Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 07/30/07 05:51 PM

Here's an update to the large and growing wildfire along the south east boarder of Glacier Park. Hwy two will be closed periodically so plan accordingly. . .

http://www.inciweb.org/incident/877/

This fire is just a couple miles now from my house and I'm on the local fire department. I will try to post an update as soon as I can, but it might be a day or two.

The smoke is thick and likely will remain so for many days to come.

State II fire restrictions started today, so NO fires!

Tony



Attached picture 9731-skyland-fire-7-30-07.jpg
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/01/07 03:41 AM

The fire's growing. . . there's a number of new ones both north south and east of the park. the east side was mostly smoked out this afternoon evening. long delays on hwy 2. Look for more of the same.

I'm back on the fire tomorrow - pray!
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/01/07 06:42 AM

Summary

Tuesday 4 PM update - The fire is doing what was predicted. The fire is not progressing north or east significantly. At the head of the fire on the Blackfeet reservation, it has entered a more sparse fuel type and has stalled out at least temporarily. The fire is at least 6 miles from Hwy 2 at the east end of the fire. Hwy 2 will re-open for two way unescorted traffic by 6 PM tonight. There will be speed restrictions in the area of the fire, and traffic will be stopped near Marias Pass while helicopters are working in that area. The latest acre figure is 16,050 acres. The large jump in acres is due to yesterday's growth, and more accurate mapping. Growth today was minimal, at least at the time of this report.

The fire was active yesterday on all fronts, which was expected. Crews had a control burn out on a 3/4 mile stretch of Hwy 2 north of Skyland road. That, combined with the normal burning put a lot of smoke ito the air. The highway will serve as a fire break in that area. The fire has extended it's reach to Dog Gun Lake on the Black Feet reservations western boundary. Residents along the Heart Butte Cutoff Road between the Two Medicine River and Little Badger Creek were recommended to evacuate by the Blackfeet Disaster Planning Group. They were notified previously of that possiblity.

The fire is about 2 1/2 miles from the Heart Butte Cutoff road. The fire is between one to two miles wide, and roughly 11 miles long from being driven by the wind the last 3 days. It is moving easterly and further away from Hwy 2 and East Glacier. Cooler weather is expected today. This should make fire suppression easier and the fire not as intense. This will allow firefighters to get in closer to the fire and take direct action. The fire was 8,550 acres yesterday morning and is now estimated at over 10,000 acres. This fire is the #1 priority fire in the western US, which makes getting resources easier. More people and equipment are arriving daily.
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/02/07 09:29 PM

Hey Tony,

How are things moving along?

-James
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/03/07 01:19 PM

today, Friday, the eastern side of the park is completely smoked out! The smoke is THICK and nasty! However, it changes throughout the day. The wind shifts and the smoke clears sometimes in minutes. Right now it just happens to be blowing on east glacier and to the north.

The fire will burn until the snow/rain put it out, but it looks to me like we saved all the structures. That could change if the weather changes. East Glacier so far is safe as well.

see webcam of west side lake mcdonald.

http://www.nps.gov/archive/glac/webcams/mcdcam.htm

Posted By: jamesdak

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/03/07 01:29 PM

We left out Wed. and the whole 4 day trip was affected by smoke from the fire. The only really blue sky we saw was Wed. morning at Many Glaciers when cool weather, wind and clouds cleared the sky. I finally get good shooting conditions but had to leave, just my luck! It's not just Glacier that's affected though. We never really got out of the smoke haze until well into Idaho.
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/04/07 04:14 PM

The fire grew yesterday, with 40mph winds. the smoke and ash is horrible. the fire is not in the park, but it's causing a bit of trouble. also, the fires on the west side are helping to add to the smoke problem. mostly the smoke settles in in the morning and evening. here's an afternoon shot of east glacier park and the fire. The first shot was at about 5 or so, the second was just a couple hours later and taken looking west instead of south east. the fire is NOT in the park, but the smoke rolling in from the west side combined with the clouds made it interesting. . .




you can see here the webcams for the park. http://www.nps.gov/archive/glac/webcams/tmcam.htm

the smoke is not too bad at times on the east side. if we have a south west wind, things are fine even though the fire is only a few miles away. if we get a south east or southerly wind, it rains ash on the east glacier park and the east side, like it did last night. . . This shot was taken looking north west from east glacier up the lawn of the lodge. WB was set to daylight so that the colors would be accurate. this was at about 7:30 pm. . .



Attached picture 9810-_DSC0008--east-glacier-fire.jpg
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/05/07 03:50 AM

Hey Tony,

Thanks for the updates. Please keep them up. I find them very interesting. I hope all is well.

James
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/05/07 01:26 PM

EAST Glacier park, now is under a stage one evacuation alert. For those that dont know, stage one is the early "be thinking about it," stage - I'm not doing anything different.

Two is get ready, and three is get the heck out now!

Unless the winds really change we still are safe from fire, just pray that it does not come to town, or we will be in big, big trouble!
Posted By: PossumCorner

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/05/07 02:13 PM

Quote:

... Two is get ready, and three is get the heck out now!...



And it is never convenient. We live in a regular bushfire area, nothing close to us the last couple of years. Before that we had to follow the evacuation order three times over three years. Never super-prepared somehow: just got all the pets, computer and some paper-work into the cars, chickens and bunnies in boxes on a trailer, and 'camped' with distant family for a few days. Luckily never lost anything, once had the fire on the fenceline just a few yards from the house but the wind changed in our favour.

I hope it doesn't come closer to you Tony, it really is distressing, the climate change problems are bad enough without all this loss of habitat and pressure on the wildlife.
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/06/07 03:17 AM

Summary

Today was a good day. The burn out operations in the area of the South Fork of Two Medicine Creek were very successful. The wind was favorable for most of the day and much of the area that needed to be burned to secure the fireline burned well. There is no change in evacuation orders or levels.

Because of active fire behavior yesterday, the evacuation levels on the east end of the fire changed. The different levels are described as: Level 1 is the lowest level, and is notification that there is a possibility of an evacuation. Level 2 is notification that there is a possibility of an evacuation and take steps to be ready to evacuate if need be. Level 3 is notification to evacuate.

Level 3 The area north of BIA2 between the South Fork Two Medicine River and BIA 1 to the Two Medicine River. Level 2 The area west of the South Fork Two Medicine River south of BIA 2 and south of U.S. Hwy 2. Also that area east of BIA 1 north of Heart Butte to the Two Medicine River. Level 1 That area north of the junction of BIA 2 and U.S. Hwy 2, north to and including East Glacier.

U.S. Hwy 2 is open, but there is a speed restriction in the fire area.

Yesterday was a relatively good day with only small fire growth. The fire spotted over control lines in the S. Fork Two Medicine River drainage prompting the evacuation levels to change. The north end of the fire east and north of Dog Gun Lake is in good shape. The south end on Mule Ridge is well secured as well. Crews continue to reinforce fire lines and burn out to fortify those lines. Once again we are the #1 fire in the nation.

Weather: Winds are expected to shift from the east to the south this afternoon that will put smoke into East Glacier. Those winds will not be near as high as the previous days however. Higher humidity's should moderate fire behavior. High temps 75-86 depending on elevation, min. humidity 21-30%

Badger Cabin, which is an USFS cabin in the Badger Creek tributary south of the fire, has been wrapped with fire resistant foil. The fire is now 19 miles long. The most easterly reach of the fire is to the Deep Creek drainage on the Blackfeet Reservation, and to Mule Ridge to the west near Skyland Road. Base camp is located south of Hwy 2, just south of Skyland Road.
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/08/07 04:33 AM

Hey Tony,

How has your home been holding up?

James
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/08/07 01:00 PM

home is okay. expecting to go to stage II any day, VERY strong winds on tuesday and already this morning! Very concerning! Here's the latest report.

Summary

Yesterday crews continued to reinforce fire lines on the north, east and west portions of the fire and burn out to fortify those lines. The south side of the fire remains open. The fire escaped control lines on the northeast corner near S. Fork Medicine Creek south of East Glacier Monday afternoon about 4:00 and made a 2 mile run to the east-northeast, crossing BIA Hwy 2, and finally ending up out in the grasslands. Crews burned out firelines late into the evening. No structures were lost, and no evacuations took place. Evacuation levels remain unchanged from yesterday.

The Forest Rangers quickly rounded up cattle and horses that were out in front of the fire and took them to safer pastures. The fire also made a short run to the south towards Mt. Baldy and ended up stalling in the rocky crags. The fire did not reach Badger Cabin. There are stronger winds from the southwest forecast for today and the next few days, which is concerning. Those winds will be a good test for the firelines. Today crews will concentrate on the area near Glacier View subdivision trying to keep the fire away from structures, and continue to build and reinforce firelines around the east, west, and north lines.

There will be a public meeting at East Glacier Lodge Tuesday night at 7:30. Washington State team 3 is timing out and will be transferring management of the fire to Pacific Northwest team 3 who will take over management of the fire on Wednesday. The new incident commander, Jeff Pendleton, will be introduced, and there will be an update on the fire.

There are stronger winds from the southwest forecast for Tuesday and several days after which is concerning. Badger cabin, which is an USFS cabin in the Badger Creek tributary south of the fire, has been wrapped with fire resistant foil. The fire is now 19 miles long. The most easterly reach of the fire is to the Deep Creek drainage on the Blackfeet Reservation, and to Mule Ridge to the west near Skyland Road. Base camp is located south of Hwy 2, just south of Skyland Road.

U.S. Hwy 2 is open, but there is a speed restriction in the fire area.

There is no change in evacuation levels. The different levels of evacuation are described as: Level 1 is the lowest level, and is notification that there is a possibility of an evacuation. Level 2 is notification that there is a possibility of an evacuation and take steps to be ready to evacuate if need be. Level 3 is notification to evacuate.

Level 3 None Level 2 The area north of BIA2 between the South Fork Two Medicine River and BIA 1 to the Two Medicine River. The area west of the South Fork Two Medicine River south of BIA 2 and south of U.S. Hwy 2 to Marias Pass. Level 1 That area east of BIA 1 north of Heart Butte to Browning. That area north of the junction of BIA 2 and U.S. Hwy 2, north to and including East Glacier.
Posted By: Crazy_Canuck

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/09/07 01:28 AM

Does anyone on this blog have an update on the Skyland Wildfire situation. We have family that live off highway 2 near East Glacier we "think" they are near mile marker 207, we have not heard from them for a couple of days. We would really appreciate any info available. Hope you are all safe
Thanks from Canada !
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/09/07 03:42 AM

I'm on the fire department and was up there in that area tonight. if they are at 207, they are about 10 miles from the current fire line on the south and west end of the fire. A large fireline has been placed east of the hwy 2 it help stop the it if it should turn west and north.

The fire has burned down to hwy 2 just west of the summit of Marias Pass at about mile maker 195. It is burning ground litter and torching some stands, but the fire in that area is light overall. That could change with the weather. It's been much cooler and the humidity is up. Good news.

By the way, I do NOT believe there are any houses located in the 207 mile area. The structures that are threatened are about 5 miles from East Glacier Park and the houses along the heart butte cut across road 1 miles south (west on hwy 2) of east glacier. So far only a few small structures have been lost, and those were in the area of Dog Gun Lake and across the USFS boundary around the old hard trigger ranch. . .
Who is your family?
Posted By: Crazy_Canuck

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/09/07 04:15 AM

Thank you for the fast reply. The family name is Rottenbiller. I think we did get the mile marker wrong as they are very close to East Glacier, about a mile east of the Firebrand Restaurant on the south side of highway 2. We know they are on level 2 notice. We really appreciate you taking the time to update us as it is extremely difficult to get accurate information here. We haven't been in close contact with them since monday as they are scrambling to cut trees, etc. and are busy so we hoped to keep posted by some other means and this blog came up. so cool. thanks again. please keep us up to date if possible and we will pass on this info to other relatives. good luck.
Posted By: Don Edwards

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/09/07 04:22 PM

Tony,

Thanks for the updates on what's happening up your way, glad to here you're safe and sound. Hope it stays that way, fires aren't very predictable.

Don
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/09/07 06:14 PM

Hey canuk, the fire really is a LONG way from that location although if given the right set of conditions, it could be there in short order. Today the winds are faverable, still cool, so the fire wont grow much in this area.

I know the places along that area and while there is a threat, it's very small.

On the otherhand, since this fire likely will burn until it gets rained or snowed out, there never really is complete safety. I'll be sure and update this thread if things change. . .

DEdwards, thanks for the remarks. . .I'll here until the end no doubt. . .
Posted By: Crazy_Canuck

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/09/07 06:54 PM

Hey Tony, appreciate your feedback. I wish I could send our weather there today. Very cold and lots of rain (Calgary). Take care.
Posted By: Don Edwards

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/09/07 08:19 PM

I hear ya there canuck, we've had rain here for the last three days. some areas of southwest Iowa, south east Nebraska, down to north west Missouri have had 7-10 inches of rain since Sunday.
Posted By: munk77

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/09/07 10:46 PM

Tony,

Can't thank you guys enough for all that you have done! my dad's a firefighter in Wisconsin, and I know that they don't get enough recognition. Also thank you for the updates on the area. A couple of friends and I are planning a trip out to Glacier next week Friday (riding the Amtrak out) and have been worried (still are) about whether or not East Glacier will be raised to a level 3.

Again Thanks for the hard work and updates.. as I will continue to read them to determine how we are going to get out there.
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/10/07 01:59 AM

Thanks for the kind words, and you an everyone else are welcome. Today the fire was relatively calm. Good weather.

It looks like a lot a ground fire right now with a little torching back up the higher mountains. If things keep going like they are now, things will be fine. Mother nature really is in control. That said, there are a lot of great men and women out there working night and day to get this fire under some kind of control.

I did not see any growth in the fire around East Glacier.

Mile post 207 is east glacier and most of the structures, while still threatend along hwy 2 are for the time being, in good shape.

I'd keep checking in because the park is ding great it's not being smoked out, a little haze but not enough that it should keep anyone from coming out. . .
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/10/07 12:01 PM

well, things are improving. I woke up this morning to rain. It's not a hard rain but it's rain and temperature is at 50 degrees. It's very cloudy and I hope the rain persists!

As far as I can tell, this was NOT forecast. . .
Posted By: Don Edwards

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/10/07 03:46 PM

Tony,

I agree with munk77, can't thank firefighters enough for what they do. Glad to hear you're getting a little rain I'm sure it helps some.

Don
Posted By: munk77

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/15/07 03:46 PM

Tony,

Know you have been busy with the fires, but was wondering if there is any update? Also, if you will be in the area, East Glacier, on Saturday, let me know.. maybe we could buy you a drink or dinner.
Posted By: Tony Bynum

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/15/07 04:29 PM

the fire is staying away from both the park and east glacier. lately the smoke has not been in the park, it's blowing north east.

The fire is calm with growth during the afternoon periods.

Here's the official update from this morning,

http://www.inciweb.org/incident/877/

I'll not be available for sunday - DARN, if I was I'd take you up on that offer for sure! Thanks so much for thinking of me. I'm real sorry!
Posted By: munk77

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/16/07 03:33 AM

Don't worry about it. It would be the least I could do! If you're around, the offer still stands on the drink or dinner for the 26th (Sunday). We will be back in East Glacier after backpacking for about 8 days. Thanks for the updates!
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Skyland Fire (Glacier Park) Update - 08/19/07 01:35 AM

Hey Tony,

How have things been going?

James
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