Fire activity across the state is expected to increase through the weekend as Friday’s high temperatures continue to dry out fuels and high winds expected for Saturday and Sunday spread flames at a faster rate.
Crews on the 2,000-acre Garden Creek Fire near Hot Springs experienced improved conditions Wednesday with minimal growth and around 10 percent containment. Around 180 fire personnel worked to build new hand lines around the extended acreage with assistance from air equipment bucket drops, retardant drops and miscellaneous heavy ground equipment.
The family evacuated from their home as a precautionary measure Tuesday returned to their house Wednesday with no reported damage.
Public Information Officer C.T. Camel said no further evacuations were planned but the area would enter Stage 2 restrictions at 12 a.m. on Friday with approval from tribal authorities.
A community meeting is scheduled for today at 10 a.m. at the Hot Springs Senior Citizens Center. Fire managers will provide a fire overview and answer questions.
The Tenmile Fire in the Kootenai National Forest reached 660 acres, with containment again decreasing to 15 percent.
Members of the 185-person crew attending the fire worked to contain new hot spots detected Thursday.
Firefighters continued efforts to construct and hold fire lines supported by hose lines on the south side of the blaze, but officials expected activity to increase as fuels continued to dry out and ignite in the wake of the current heat wave.
Closures in the area remained in effect.
The Davis Fire burning in the northwest corner of the state gained five acres Thursday for a total of 380 acres with 20 percent containment.
Crews focused on the southern edge of the fire Thursday where multiple spot fires ignited small patches of dry fuels. Southern and eastern fire lines held with assistance from water hoses and sprinklers, while firefighters continued to improve hand lines through the steep terrain on the western edges.
The Flathead Valley’s air quality declined to unhealthy for sensitive groups, while most of the rest of the state remained at moderate.
Smoke and haze will continue to linger through Friday until the high-pressure ridge begins to break down Saturday.
Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or email@example.com.