West Fork Fish Creek Fire in Lolo National Forest Leads to Closures, Evacuations
The West Fork Fish Creek Fire burning in the Lolo National Forest has received very little attention, but now that it has grown to nearly 2,600 acres.Forest spokesman Boyd Hartwig said the blaze is causing more concern.
"That fire has been stuck in around up in the high country for at least a week. It hasn't been doing much," Hartwig said. "We've had a difficult time getting a size up because of the smoke. We flew a detection flight yesterday, but even with a detection flight from the air, we weren't really able to get a good sense of the fire perimeter."
Now the fire is triggering evacuations and road closures in the Ninemile and Missoula Ranger districts.
"As far as evacuations, that fire is probably two or three miles southwest of Clearwater Crossing. Clearwater Crossing is probably another couple miles southwest of Hole in the Wall Ranch, so we've got some space and some buffer," Hartwig said. "We just want to make sure to notify folks about the fire activity and establish that area closure and certainly close Clearwater Campground as well as the trailhead up there."
Below are the specific road, trail and campground closures caused by the West Fork Fish Creek Fire as reported by Lolo National Forest Service.
Ninemile Ranger District: This closure is associated with the West Fork Fish Creek Fire which is approximately 2,600 acres and located 15 miles southwest of Tarkio within the Great Burn proposed wilderness near Clearwater Crossing. Due to fire growth yesterday Forest Service officials are also working with the Mineral County Sheriff’s Department on an evacuation notice for residents near the Hole in the Wall Ranch, which is located approximately one mile east of Clearwater Crossing. This is a precautionary measure. Firefighting resources are in place as well as structure protection for Clearwater Crossing. The Area Closure for this fire extends from Schley Mountain, to the east of Clearwater Crossing Trailhead, north to Quartz Creek and west to the Superior Ranger District border and the Idaho/Montana border. The closure includes the Schley Trailhead, the Clearwater Crossing Trailhead and Campground, and St. Patrick Peak Trail.
Missoula Ranger District: This closure extends from the corner of Highway 12 and the Idaho-Montana border and is in place due to recent activity on the Boulder Fire on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, which is approximately 1,600 acres and located about five miles west of Lolo Pass. The closure boundary runs from Lolo Pass west and north along the Montana-Idaho border then east along the Ninemile-Missoula Ranger District divide to the Fish Creek Road #343. It then runs south to Highway 12 and south back to Lolo Pass. Highway 12 and Fish Creek Rd. are not closed. Forest Roads #490, #4212 and Trail #318 are closed in their entirety. Impacted Recreations Sites: On the Ninemile district the Clearwater Crossing Campground and trailhead are popular recreation sites. The Schley Trailhead and trail as well as St. Patrick’s Peak Trail also see frequent use. Other locations within these two closure areas are less travelled roads and dispersed recreation areas.