Fire closes parts of Mission Mountain Wilderness
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: August 9, 2016

Lightning Fire Sparks Area Closure


BIGFORK, MT –August 9, 2016 – The Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest has issued an emergency closure order due to fire activity on all National Forest System lands within the areas of Moore Lake, Piper Creek, and Cedar Creek.  This area is within Lake County, Montana.


The closure boundary is defined as areas west and south from the intersection of Forest Service Road (FSR) 966 and FSR 10383 following FSR 10383 to where Cedar Creek crosses said road in Section 23. From here, the closure boundary follows Cedar Creek to the west to the forks of South Fork Cedar Creek and North Fork Cedar Creek. The closure continues northwest following North Fork Cedar Creek to Cedar Lake.  The closure then follows the southern shoreline of Cedar Lake until it reaches the northern boundary of section 19.  From here, the closure follows the northern boundary of sections 19 and PB 40 to the Mission Mountain Wilderness boundary.  Continuing south, the closure follows the boundary of Mission Mountain Wilderness and the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness divide to Piper Crow Pass then southeastward to the southeast corner section of PB38.  The closure then continues east along the southern boundaries of sections PB 38, PB 37, 4, 3, 2, 1 to FSR 966. Following FSR 966, the closure continues north to the intersection of FSR 966 and FSR 10383.


National Forest System Trail (NFST) 119 (Piper Creek) will be closed for its entire length.  NFST 738 (Fatty Creek) will be closed from the south shoreline of Cedar Lake moving south to where it ties in with NFST 119.  In addition, FSR 966 will be closed from the Piper Creek trailhead moving south. These closures will remain in effect until rescinded.


This area closure is implemented as a standard wildfire operations procedure which helps protect the public from entering into an area that is still active with fire.


On the evening of August 5th, lightning sparked the Piper fire located in the Piper Creek drainage within the Mission Mountain Wilderness, and is approximately 12 acres in size.  It is located in steep, dangerous, and inaccessible terrain.  Due to firefighter safety, the Piper fire is being managed with a confine and contain strategy.  Helicopters are being used to slow the fires growth.  Fire managers have a plan in place to take action on the fire when ground resources can safely mitigate the hazards. Forest visitors and residents can expect to see smoke within this area until the fire receives enough precipitation to be considered a season ending event.


For additional information about this emergency closure, contact Janette Turk at 406-758-5200.

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