FIRE NAMES: Little Salmon Creek Complex (includes Little Salmon,
Contact: Flathead National Forest, Spotted Bear Ranger District,
What: Lightning-caused wildland fire
Started: Both the Little Salmon and the Pagoda fires began on July 16,
2003; the Some Fire started on August 7.
Status: The Little Salmon and the Pagoda fires are being managed under
a wildland fire use strategy to accomplish resource benefits. The Some Fire, a
recent lightning-caused ignition, is being managed as a suppression fire because
of potential effects to recreation values and other ongoing fire activity.
Location: The Little Salmon Creek Complex is located 47 miles
southeast of Kalispell, Montana in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. The
Little Salmon Creek Fire is burning to the south up the South Fork of the
Flathead River. It has burned north to Damnation Creek and two miles south of
White River to White River Butte. The Pagoda Fire is east of Pagoda Mountain in
the upper White River drainage. The Some Fire is located 9 miles east of Holland
Lake and 2 miles north of Shaw Cabin.
Current Size: Little Salmon: 17,628 acres, Pagoda: 153 acres, Some:
Summary of Today’s Activity: Aerial reconnaissance of the area
occurred today resulting in a more accurate acreage estimate. Most of today’s
fire activity occurred north and east of the White River on the southeast corner
of the Little Salmon Creek Fire. Large areas of unburned ground still exist
throughout the fire’s perimeter.
Concerns: Firefighter and public safety, aviation, and the effects of
smoke on surrounding communities.
Resource Benefits: Preserving natural processes will be the key
benefit of restoring fire to the wilderness. In addition, this fire will help to
minimize future threats to firefighters and wilderness users by reducing fuel
build up. Future fire size and intensity will be reduced.
Trail Closures: A new trail closure was imposed August 11 on the
Indian Creek Trail #211 east of White River Pass. The previous closure remains
in effect along the main South Fork Flathead River and side trails from Mid
Creek south 35 miles to Brownstone Creek south of Big Prairie. This closure has
been in effect since August 4, 2003. Additional trail closures were effective
August 10 near Holland Lake on Necklace Lakes, Pendant Pass, and Shaw Creek
Jurisdiction: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service - Flathead
National Forest, Spotted Bear Ranger District.
Resources on Fire: Dick Rath’s interagency fire use team is managing
the complex. District and other resource overhead and field people are making
visitor contacts and implementing structure protection measures on
administrative cabins. There are approximately 80 personnel directly related to
this fire complex.
- 8/10 ~ The fire is generally moving into the wind to the west, moving with
the wind to the east in the vicinity of White River and Charlotte Peak. The
fire is backing west to Charlotte Peak and moving east into the junction of
the White River and South Fork Flathead River. Molly Creek fire was detected
today in the upper White River and it was determined to be a suppression fire.
Several other ignitions have recently become active. Many are being
suppressed. Those that are not are expected to burn into the larger Little
Salmon Creek Fire. The fire is mostly in and around the South Fork drainage
between Big Prairie and Black Bear.
- 8/9 ~14,300 acres estimated. On the south end of Little Salmon fire, some
fire activity burning up Holbrook Creek and White River. Structure protection
ongoing. From 8/5-8/9 received 13 lightning starts- 9 are suppression fires, 4
are Fire Use Fires. The Fire Use Fires are located near the Little Salmon Fire
and are likely to be consumed by the main fire. In the same time frame, 5
lightning starts outside the wilderness were suppressed. One new initial
attack fire outside the wilderness last night.
- 8/9 152 acres Pagoda – little change in fire. Lookouts posted on Pagoda
Mountain to observe fire behavior removed today due to low fire activity.
- 8/8 ~14,300 acres estimated. On south end of Little Salmon Fire, east and
west edges show the most heat. Structure protection work complete at Black
Bear. Structure protection work to begin on Shaw, Pendant, Hahn and Basin
Cabins tomorrow. Some Creek grew to 150 acres. Una and Charlotte are still
spots. New lightning starts discovered on Gordon Creek, Independence Park,
Salmon Point, and Limestone. 77 people on fire. Non-wilderness fires on Cedar
Creek, Lake, North Lake, and Divine Peak. The first 3 were suppressed today.
- 8/8 151 acres Pagoda – little change in fire. More precipitation in the
past few days has slowed progress of fire.
- 8/7 ~14,300 acres estimated. On south end of Little Salmon Fire, east and
west edges grew maybe 100 acres. New fire starts discovered on Charlotte, Some
Creek, and Una. Dick Rath Wilderness Fire Use Management Team assumed command
of complex. Structure protection work complete at Indian Point and Rock Creek
Cabins. Work almost completed at Black Bear and Big Prairie. 44 people on
- 8/6 ~14,300 acres estimated, winds up to 49 mph blew last night, with
0.24" rain at Big Prairie and 0.10" at Spotted Bear. Little Salmon not much
increase in size. 44 people on fire. Lightning caused starts in wilderness at
Meadow Mountain, Cathedral, and 2 on Black Bear Mountain. Non-wilderness fires
on Stoney Mountain and Horse Ridge. All are suppression fires.
- 8/6 151 acres Pagoda – little change in fire. Lookouts flown into Pagoda
Mountain to monitor fire.
- 8/5 11,789 acres (net decrease in acres due to better mapping) Little
Salmon Creek - fire grew slightly west, north of Holbrook Creek, and east on
Pine Creek. Crews continue implementing structure protection plans on Big
Prairie and Indian Point Cabin.
- 8/5 151 acres Pagoda – little change in fire. Crews are in the process of
implementing structure protection plans at Rock Creek Cabin.
- 8/4 12,564 acres (+339) lower temperatures dropped into the 70s, light
rain, and higher humidity’s slowed growth. 36 people on fire planning,
monitoring, patrolling, and structure protection. Crews have finished wrapping
Black Bear and Salmon Forks administrative cabins, and Little Salmon Creek
Bridge; and set up sprinkler systems on Big Salmon Creek and Black Bear
bridges. Crews are in the process of implementing structure protection plans
at Big Prairie and Indian Point Cabin.
- 8/4 Little Pagoda has grown to 151 acres and continues to grow slowly
downhill and is ˝ mile from White River Trail #112. Crews are in the process
of implementing structure protection plans at Rock Creek Cabin.
- 8/3 12,225 acres (+5,753) late night winds on 8/2 shifted and blew fire to
the southeast, grew 4 miles and went south past Holbrook and Woodfir Creeks,
and 1 mile past White River. Fire burned Holbrook Cabin.
- 8/2 6,472 acres (+909) grew south to Lamoose Creek.
- 8/1 5,563 acres (+2,602) grew north ad west, south to the eastern edge of
Big Salmon Lake. Burned through Salmon Forks Cabin site. Wrapped cabin and Big
Salmon Creek suspension bridge survived.
- 7/31 2,961 acres (+578) grew north to Damnation Creek.
- 7/30 2,383 acres (+812) grew a little south and north.
- 7/29 1,571 acres (+1,437) grew across Little Salmon Creek, across the
South Fork Flathead River and mostly stopped burning east after fire ran into
the 2000 Lewis Creek 2 Fire.
- 7/25 134 acres, grew down to Little Salmon Creek and South Fork Flathead
- 7/21 Pagoda Fire detected just north of Pagoda Mountain.
- 7/18 Little Salmon Creek Fire detected just south on ridge at mouth of
Little Salmon Creek.
- 7/16 Little Salmon Creek and Pagoda Fires started by lightning.
Community meetings: none scheduled.