“M” is for Montana

Montana tops MNICS assigned resource list with 122 personnel at nine incidents

As of yesterday, some 220 MNICS resources are on assignment in 10 different states (California, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming). Of those, 122 are in Montana where 26 active fires are currently listed on Inciweb.

map showing Montana wildfires
Montana DNRC map

Performing a variety of functions, including engine, dispatch, initial attack, helicopter, command-general staff and severity detail, MNICS resources in Montana are at the Arrastra Creek, Liberty, Lodgepole Complex, Lolo Peak*, Meyers, Park Creek, Rice Ridge, Sliderock, Sunrise and Sapphire Complex fires.

flames start to torch a pine tree
Sunrise Fire (Phil Millette photo)

Due to prolonged hot, dry weather much of Montana has been affected by the 2017 wildfire season. An Aug. 2 Northern Rockies Geographic Area weather report indicates that Missoula has had no measurable precipitation for nearly 45 days.

firefighter looks out over a hill in Montana at the Sunrise Fire
Sunrise Fire (Phil Millette photo)

On July 19, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock declared a state of drought emergency and a fire emergency declaration was issued on July 23 after the Lodgepole Complex burned more than 273,000 acres, mostly private land. As a result of the losses in eastern Montana, Garfield and Petroleum counties have qualified for FEMA assistance (see aerial footage of destroyed grazing land).

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) situation report shows the Northern Rockies Coordination Center (NRCC) region with 27 large fires burning nearly 403,000 acres. Among the 4,150 personnel assigned to this geographic area coordination center (GACC), there are 246 engines, 37 helicopters and 92 crews. MNICS currently has two 20-member initial attack crews in Montana at the Arrastra Creek and Lodgepole Complex fires.

billows from fire spread to trees in Park Creek Fire
Park Creek Fire (Jeremy Neste photo)

*Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Brent M. Witham, 29, of Mentone, California who died this week at the Lolo Peak Fire.