Bob Marshall Wilderness has first large fire of the season

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The Garden Creek Fire burns near Hot Springs. (Photo provided)

The Bob Marshall Wilderness has its first large wildfire of the season. The Brownstone Fire is burning near Brownstone Creek and Brownstone Peak roughly a mile southeast of the Big Prairie Ranger Station. It was started by lightning July 28.

The 366 acre fire is expected to make short runs to the Flathead Alps divide between Brownstone creek and the South Fork of White River. The fire has also been active on the west flank in the bottom of Brownstone Creek, it is likely in the next few days that the fire will cross onto the south side of the creek. This could lead to the fire to make runs uphill to the south toward the divide with Francois Creek.

Currently there are no closures in place, as the fire is not near any trails.

The Garden Creek Fire near Hot Springs grew substantially in the past day and is now nearly 2,000 acres.

The fire burned actively all night with group torching and spotting up to a quarter mile. The temperature was reportedly 80 degrees with 24 percent relative humidity at 2 a.m. last night. The north and lower east sides of the fire appear to be holding. One structure was evacuated and successfully protected on the east side of the fire last night, and no others are threatened at this time.

Fire danger in the region is considered extreme, with the exception of Glacier National Park, which has seen some rain recently, particularly east of the Divide. There, the fire danger is still rated as very high, even with the recent rains.

Flathead County has not enacted any fire restrictions at this point.

Temperatures could exceed 100 degrees by week’s end, though a cool front is expected to lower temperatures over the weekend, but there’s only a slight chance of rain.

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