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Local entities mull Seepay Fire Long Term Assessment

By Adriana Fehrs

Craig Glazier, Northern Rockies Wildland Fire Management Team Incident Commander Trainee, addresses a long-term assessment for the 1,060-acre Seepay Fire with the Tribal Council, BIA, and Flathead Agency at the CSKT Division of Fire on August 19. (Adriana Fehrs photo) Craig Glazier, Northern Rockies Wildland Fire Management Team Incident Commander Trainee, addresses a long-term assessment for the 1,060-acre Seepay Fire with the Tribal Council, BIA, and Flathead Agency at the CSKT Division of Fire on August 19. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

RONAN — Tribal Council, BIA, and Flathead Agency all met at the CSKT Division of Fire to discuss a long-term assessment of the MT-FHA-000092 ‘Seepay Fire’ on August 19.

The 1,060-acre fire, located 20 miles northwest of Dixon, has exceeded the initial attack to extinguish the fire, and now, officials are looking at making some important decisions.

“It’s been a very dry spring, and there’s been a high amount of lightening activity in the Seepay roadless area,” says Craig Glazier, Northern Rockies Wildland Fire Management Team Incident Commander Trainee.

CSKT handled the fire for one month and when the fire complexity was took much to handle, they handed over delegation of authority to Diane Hutton’s Wildland Fire Management Team to utilize situational awareness.

Magpie, Revaais, and the Seepay area are all timber production areas for CSKT that shares a boundary with Lolo National Forest.

Jim Durglo, Tribal Forestry Department Head, voices his concerns at the long-term assessment for the 1,060-acre Seepay Fire with the Tribal Council, BIA, and Flathead Agency at the CSKT Division of Fire on August 19. (Adriana Fehrs photo)  Jim Durglo, Tribal Forestry Department Head, voices his concerns at the long-term assessment for the 1,060-acre Seepay Fire with the Tribal Council, BIA, and Flathead Agency at the CSKT Division of Fire on August 19. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

Mary Taber, Northern Rockies Wildland Fire Management Team Long Term Fire Analyst, says the fire season started out normal. “In any regular fire season you will see several small fires, and we are not in a drought.”

Officials are comparing this fire season to 2004, 2011, and 2012 – all were similar in precipitation and temperatures. “We have a wide variety of outcomes for this fire,” says Taber. There is a 25 percent chance the fire will extinguish around September 9, a 50 percent chance for September 26, a 75 percent chance for October 11, and a 90 percent chance the fire will be extinguished around October 24.

The next two weeks will provide the fire with the greatest opportunity to grow. Fire officials will have a better understanding of how the fire will progress after the timespan has passed.

Ron Swaney, CSKT Division of Fire - Fire and Fuels Manager, adds his input at meeting with tribal council and other officials, which centered on a long-term assessment of the Seepay Fire. (Adriana Fehrs photo)  Ron Swaney, CSKT Division of Fire - Fire and Fuels Manager, adds his input at meeting with tribal council and other officials, which centered on a long-term assessment of the Seepay Fire. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

Ed Brunson, BIA Northwest Regional Office, says there are 54 future actions associated with Man Action Points (MAPs) for the Seepay Fire. Overall strategy for MAPs include a monitor and contain management strategy.

Currently, the fire is 80 percent contained, and is currently under CS&KT Division of Fire (Type 3) mopping up and rehabbing control lines. Area closures near the fire are still in effect.

Stage I Fire Restriction has been lifted. Open burning on the Flathead Reservation is prohibited until October 1, 2014.

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