08/03/2012- Daily Fire Update
Incident: Butler Wildfire
The Butler Fire was first spotted on Monday, July 30th, burning near Ch-paa-qn Peak, approximately 27 miles northwest of Frenchtown, Montana. Although the fire is currently burning on the Ninemile Ranger District, Lolo National Forest, the fire is in close proximity to the divide between the Forest and the Flathead Indian Reservation. The fire is burning in lodgepole pine and subalpine fir forest, with heavy fuel loads of down and standing dead timber. These fuels and snags have exacerbated both hazards to firefighters and also the potential for spot fires. Full suppression efforts will continue to be implemented wherever feasible, especially to prevent spread northward and eastward onto the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Rick Kusicko's Type II Northern Rockies Incident Management Team began managing the Butler Fire on Wednesday, August 1st. The Incident Command Post for the fire has been established at the Richardson Ranch, near exit 85 along I-90.
The predicted cold frontal passage and associated winds were delayed Thursday, enabling hand crews to make significant progress constructing fireline. Winds finally arrived on the fire late afternoon, and light rain fell over the area late in the evening. More unsettled weather is predicted for Friday. Although a rough fireline has been constructed around much of the fire, the nature of the terrain and fuel types require much more line strengthening in order to deem those lines secure.
Friday, firefighters will continue to strengthen existing fireline, grid outside the fire perimeter for potential spot fires, and will begin the long process of laying hose and mopping up the fire from the perimeter inward. Helicopter water drops and air tanker retardant will continue to provide support as needed. With so much fire season still ahead of us, Roger Staats, Operations Section Chief reiterated to crews that "We really need to get this fire plumbed."
Road, Trail, and Area Closures: Numerous road and trail closures are in effect surrounding the Butler Fire, including: Butler Creek Road Loop area, the Edith Peak Road area, Reservation Divide Trail, Kennedy Creek Trail, and Ch-paa-qn Peak Trail. See a copy of the official closure orders, with details on http://www.inciweb.org/.