Lightning sparked fires burning on Flathead National Forest

Posted at 7:54 AM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 09:54:47-04

KALISPELL – A Type 1 Incident Management team will arrive Wednesday to manage fires that are burning in the Flathead National Forest.

Two lightning-sparked fires — the Coal Ridge fire burning five miles west of Polebridge and Paola Ridge fire northwest of Essex — are burning in steep terrain and not threatening structures at this time.

Following lightning storms across the Flathead National Forest Saturday evening, the Coal Ridge fire has burned about 300 acres and is 0% contained.  The fire is burning in steep terrain with subalpine forest and brushy avalanche chutes. 

Flathead National Forest spokeswoman Janette Turk says a Type 3 fire management team is assigned to the fire along with a squad of firefighters and additional resources have been ordered. 

Initial plans are for the incident commander and the firefighters to get a full size up of the fire and the situation and then identify and prioritize values at risk. The initial plans call for local heavy equipment to begin implementing a fuel break.

The Paola Ridge fire — which has scorched 50 acres and is 0% contained — is burning two miles northwest of Essex. The blaze is also burning in steep terrain with subalpine forest and brushy avalanche chutes.  

Stage II Fire Restrictions are going into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday on the Flathead National Forest and in Glacier National Park.