08/04/2012- 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.
Great progress has been made, with crews having constructed rough fireline around most of the fire. Firefighters also completed laying hose around much of the fire perimeter and began the process of mopping up. Crews will continue to strengthen existing fireline, grid outside the fire perimeter for potential spot fires, and mop up the fire from the perimeter inward. Helicopter water drops and air tanker retardant will continue to provide support as needed.
High pressure is expected to return for the fire area over the weekend, along with a hotter and drier weather trend. As a result, any smoldering spot fires which may have been sparked by Thursday's winds may become more visible, allowing crews an opportunity to locate and extinguish them. Operations Section Chief, Roger Staats, said that today will begin a "seek and destroy mission" for crews, as they search out those hot spots.
Road, Trail, and Area Closures: Numerous road and trail closures are in effect surrounding the Butler Fire, including: Butler Creek Loop Road 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/.