WeatherWildfire Watch


Big Knife Fire near Arlee grows to 2,700 acres, community meeting planned

Big Knife Fire
Posted at 10:22 AM, Aug 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-04 12:49:30-04

ARLEE - The Big Knife Fire five miles east of Arlee has grown from 2,000 acres to 2,710 acres burned as of Thursday morning.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office has several areas near the base of the mountains west of the Big Knife Fire in pre-evacuation status.

Additionally, in the Tribal Primitive Area, Belmore Slough and Burnt Cabin Roads are closed.

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Crews began installing structure protection equipment in the Lemlama neighborhood on Wednesday.

Fire managers report the blaze burned actively on Wednesday with a spot fire south of Big Knife Creek burning eastward into the South Fork Jocko Tribal Primitive Areas.

Part of the fire also became well-established on the north side of the Big Knife drainage.

The fire is burning in extremely steep terrain, so crews continue to try to flank the fire and monitor the southwest edge.

According to the Thursday update, strategic firing operations may be necessary to prevent the fire from spreading toward the valley.

Aircraft are aiding crews as conditions allow, although limited visibility has hindered some air operations.

The Big Knife Fire remains visible from Missoula and throughout the Jocko Valley.

The blaze, which remains 0% contained, was started by lightning on July 24, 2023.

A community meeting for the Big Knife, Noriada, and Mill Pocket fires will be held on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, at the Arlee Community Center beginning at 6 p.m.

The meeting will be broadcast live on the CSKT Division of Fire Facebook page.

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Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in place across the Flathead Indian Reservation. No campfires are allowed, no smoking outside of vehicles, no operating combustible engines between 1 p.m. and 1 a.m., and no operating vehicles off designated roads and trails.

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