By Justin Franz, 8-13-12
||Caption: The Condon Mountain Fire had grown to 900 acres by Aug. 13. - Photo courtesy of the Flathead National Forest.
Firefighters at the Condon Mountain Fire were trying to reduce fuels in front of the wildfire that grew to 900 acres over the weekend, just outside of Condon in the Swan Valley.
The U.S. Forest Service held a public meeting on Sunday, Aug. 12, to inform the public about firefighting efforts in the area. Flathead National Forest spokesperson Wade Muehlhof said evacuations were unlikely, but the fire was expected to burn for the coming days and weeks.
“This is a fire that will likely be with us for the rest of the summer, at least until the fall rains,” he said.
Over the weekend, a Type 3 incident management team took over firefighting efforts and as of Monday morning more than 80 people and two helicopters were working the blaze. Two engine crews and one water tender were also on site.
The lightning-caused fire was first discovered on July 28. Public information officer Andrew Johnson said most efforts to douse the blaze have come from the air and crews have been digging fire lines around the area in hopes of containing it. By Friday the fire had burned 283 acres, but over the weekend grew to 900 acres.
Officials say the fire will continue to grow in the coming days and a cold front from Canada could bring wind gusts of 40 miles per hour during the week. On Monday, fire crews were igniting back burns on the north side of the fire in the Dog Creek drainage.
Farther east in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the Prisoner Lake Fire has burned more than 4,000 acres but poses little public threat due to its remote location. The Elbow Pass Fire Complex has burned more than 17,000 acres in both the Flathead and Lewis and Clark national forests. Both fires have resulted in numerous trail closures.
[End of article]