Monday, October 02, 2023

More rain falls, fire restrictions lifted, fires all but out

| September 6, 2023 2:00 AM

The fire season all but came to a halt in the last week and management of area fires were handed back over to local control on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Aug. 29 and Aug. 30 saw steady rain the valley and Flathead County on Thursday transitioned from Stage 2 fire rules to no restrictions at all.

Glacier National Park and the Flathead and Kootenai national forests lifted all fire restrictions as well.

Flattop Mountain in Glacier National Park and Big Mountain near Whitefish both picked up more than 3 inches of precipitation between Aug. 29 and Aug. 31. Columbia Falls recorded 2.7 inches, Whitefish 1.87 inches and Kalispell 1.34 inches, according to data from the National Weather Service in Missoula.

Kalispell recorded 2.95 inches of rain in August, well above the 0.73 average for the month.

More heavy rain fell Sept. 3 and Sept. 4 as and showers were still in the forecast as the Hungry Horse News went to press. The weekend should be warmer and drier with highs in the 70s to about 80.

Crews cleared a mudslide in Glacier National Park that crossed North Lake McDonald Road on Aug. 30. The road has been closed to the public all summer due to a bridge replacement project.

The road has since reopened to local traffic, but remains closed due to bridge reconstruction for the general public.

All evacuation notices and orders for residences affected by the Ridge, Doris Point and Tin Soldier fires near Hungry Horse Reservoir were rescinded.

Public access was reopened to portions of the Hungry Horse Reservoir.

The east side road opened along the entire east shore to Spotted Bear Ranger Station. The reservoir was reopened for boating, while the east shore and islands were reopened to dispersed camping.

The west side road was to open to the Doris Point Boat Launch.

Forest Service Road 895 remained closed south of the Doris Point Boat Launch due to the Tin Soldier and Doris Point fires.

An area closure for the Ridge Fire remained in effect and includes the Desert Mountain Road and Emery Creek Road. Emery Bay Campground, however, was reopened.

Final mapping of the Ridge Fire was 3,665 acres, Doris Point was 1,610 acres and Tin Soldier 8,165 acres.

Tin Soldier was two large fires in the South Fork of the Flathead — the Sullivan Fire and the Bruce Fire, both west of the river and/or the reservoir.

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