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Entries in Thompson Divide Complex (2)

Sunday
Sep062015

Inch of rain, snow, make all the difference on Glacier fires

Snow blankets high country above Thompson Divide fires- Jonathan Moor photo(MISSOULA)- More than an inch of rain, along with high country snow, are helping to squelch three of the largest blazes from this fire season, burning along the southern edge of Glacier National Park. 

Fire managers report the Thompson-Divide Complex fires are now 72% contained. The complex initially started with the Thompson Fire in the Nyack backcountry, which burned almost 19,000-acres. The Sheep Fire, which was burning south of U.S. 2 in the Flathead National Forest, consumed more than 2000-acres and threatened Essex during the height of that fire two weeks ago. The Granite Fire burned almost 1,000-acres, also on National Forest Land. 

Now, fire managers say the cool, wet weather has helped tremendously, and they've been able to contain almost three-fourths of the fires' perimeters. There are no more restrictions on travel along Highway 2, or evacuation orders in place. 

A Northern Rockies Type 2 team is demobilizing on the fires today, and will turn management over to a Type 3 team that will be stationed at Hungry Horse and will continue to monitor the three fires. 

Saturday
Aug292015

Crews almost done with Essex fire break against Sheep Fire

A helicopter navigates through smoke at the Thompson Divide Complex Saturday- Jonathan Moor photo(ESSEX)- Fire crews have nearly completed construction of a fire break around the small community of Essex, in an effort to save the town from burning because of the stubborn Sheep Fire.

Meanwhile, evacuations for area residents remain in place, and U.S. 2 remains closed to through traffic around the southern end of Glacier National Park. 

The Sheep Fire was slowed somewhat Saturday by heavy smoke that blanketed the area. Still, it has burned over 1500 acres and continues to threaten more than 200 structures in Essex, as well the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad line. None of the fire has been contained as of Saturday evening. 

Smoke also limited helicopter water drops Saturday, but the cold front that moved through the Northern Rockies didn't produce the strong winds that firefighters had been worried about. Evacuees are being sheltered in West Glacier. 

Meanwhile, the other fires in the Thompson Divide Complex continue to burn. There's no containment on the 700-acre Granite Fire. However, the first fire in the complex, the Thompson Fire, burning in the Nyack backcountry, is now 20% contained.