Char-Koosta News

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CSKT Fire Management reminds everyone to be fire cautious

By Adriana Fehrs

Fire3.jpgCSKT Division of Fire continues to deal with the Seepay fire located approximately 6 miles due South of Perma MT, and 1.5 miles northwest of Three Lakes Peak in the Upper Seepay Creek "Roadless area". The lightning caused fire is estimated to be 140 acres at this time. (Courtesy photo Ron Swaney, Fire Management Division Manager) Fire3.jpg CSKT Division of Fire continues to deal with the Seepay fire located approximately 6 miles due South of Perma MT, and 1.5 miles northwest of Three Lakes Peak in the Upper Seepay Creek "Roadless area". The lightning caused fire is estimated to be 140 acres at this time. (Courtesy photo Ron Swaney, Fire Management Division Manager)

FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION – CSKT Fire Management has had their hands full lately, now that fire season is in full swing. Fire danger is currently ‘Very High’ on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Devlin LaFrombois, Fire Information Officer, says, “There has been forty-four fires here on the reservation during this fire season.” Of those 44 fires, about 25 have been person caused resulting in over ten acres burned. Of the 19 lightning caused fires, over 400 acres have burned.

CSKT Division of Fire has recently dealt with several fires. The Cromwell fire, which was located by West Elmo in the ‘Hog Heaven’ area, started from lightning around July 21. The fire burned 88 acres, and has been 100 percent contained.

Two fires were started in the late night on July 27. The first fire was rather interesting for Tribal Firefighters. A three-acre fire was started in Ravalli after a squirrel climbed onto power lines. The animal was shocked and fell to the ground, where the carcass smoldered and lit the surrounding grass on fire. LaFrombois explains that it is an occurrence that they deal with more than people would expect. “It’s usually birds that get electrocuted on the power lines, and then start fires. It happens maybe once every few years.”

The department recently dealt with a suspicious fire started in the South Finley area three miles south east of Arlee. Firefighters responded quickly to put out the one-acre fire. The person caused fire is still under investigation.

Due to the increasing amount of fires and hot weather, the Flathead Indian Reservation will enter ‘Stage 1’ Fire restrictions Thursday, August 7, at 12:01 a.m. Due to the increasing amount of fires and hot weather, the Flathead Indian Reservation will enter ‘Stage 1’ Fire restrictions Thursday, August 7, at 12:01 a.m.

CSKT Division of Fire continues to deal with the Seepay fire located approximately 6 miles due South of Perma MT, and 1.5 miles northwest of Three Lakes Peak in the Upper Seepay Creek “Roadless area”. The lightning caused fire is estimated to be 140 acres at this time. Currently, no homes are threatened by the fire. Due to fire fighter safety the fire is currently being monitored and will be managed under a confine strategy. SEAT’s (Single Engine Air Tankers) and Helicopters have been used to slow fire spread along the west, east and north flanks of the fire.

Since July 28, seven lightning fires and one person caused fire, have flared up on the reservation. The Lozeau fire, five miles west of Elmo, burned 257 acres on August 1. The fire continues to burn but is currently being patrolled.

A smaller fire out at Loon Lake, Northwest of Polson, burned forty acres. The fire was also lightning caused, and CSKT Division of Fire and the Polson RFD responded.

The Flathead Indian Reservation will enter ‘Stage 1’ Fire restrictions Thursday, August 7, at 12:01 a.m. The reservation has not faced any restrictions during this year’s fire season up until now.

Stage I Fire Restrictions:
   • Campfires and fires are prohibited except in designated campfire sites – liquid petroleum and LPG stoves that can be turned off and on are allowed.
   • Smoking is prohibited outside of vehicles, buildings, and developed recreation sites, unless you are within a three-foot diameter area cleared of all burnable vegetation.

Stage 1 Exemptions:
   • Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
   • Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off.
   • Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
   • Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
   • All land within a city boundary is exempted.
   • Other exceptions unique to each agency/tribe. (i.e. cultural fires, tanning fires, sweats, etc.)

Stage II Fire Restrictions:
   • Campfires and other fires are prohibited everywhere. Liquid petroleum and LPG stoves that can be turned on and off are allowed.
   • Smoking is prohibited outside of vehicles, buildings, and developed recreation sites, unless you are in a three-foot-diameter area cleared of burnable vegetation.
   • Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails is prohibited.
   • Operating any internal combustion engine, welding, operating a torch with open flame and using an explosive are prohibited from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. a 2-hour patrol following cessation of work is required.

CSKT Division of Fire is dealing with a multitude of fires this year. About 44 fires have burned here on the reservation, and of the 44 fires at least 25 have been person caused. Devlin LaFrombois, CSKT Fire Information Officer, urges the public to be vigilant on reporting suspicious fires, and/or activities. You can call 1-800-47-ARSON or visit www.wetip.com to report any information regarding arson on Indian lands. Up to a $10,000 dollar reward is offered. CSKT Division of Fire is dealing with a multitude of fires this year. About 44 fires have burned here on the reservation, and of the 44 fires at least 25 have been person caused. Devlin LaFrombois, CSKT Fire Information Officer, urges the public to be vigilant on reporting suspicious fires, and/or activities. You can call 1-800-47-ARSON or visit www.wetip.com to report any information regarding arson on Indian lands. Up to a $10,000 dollar reward is offered.

LaFrombois reminds the public to be vigilant on reporting suspicious fires, and/or activities. You can call 1-800-47-ARSON or visit www.wetip.com to report any information regarding arson on Indian lands. Up to a $10,000 dollar reward is offered.

CSKT Fire Management encourages locals to make sure campfires are dead out and cold to the touch before leaving the area; never leave a campfire unattended; secure trailer chains so that they are not dragging on the ground - dragging chains send sparks into dry grass and often start fires along roadways; do not park or drive hot vehicles on dry grass; and be aware of lawn mowers, chainsaws, and other equipment that can throw sparks and ignite grass fires. Do not burn yard debris during fire season. “We see a good amount of fires started from farm equipment, and we are always cautious of bonfires that are started by party-goers; people tend to leave those fires without fully extinguishing the fire,” says LaFrombois.

For more information about fire restrictions, click here, or call (406) 676–2550.

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