WeatherWildfire Watch


Manadatory evacuations ordered in Flathead County near East Fork Fire

Wildfire Watch 1280x720 Alt.jpg
Posted at 12:47 PM, Aug 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-18 18:51:04-04

UPDATE: 3:32 p.m. - Aug. 18, 2023

KALISPELL - Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino has issued a mandatory evacuation order due to deteriorating conditions near the East Fork Fire.

The order is in effect for the following locations:

  • North of mile marker 142 on Highway 93 to mile marker 157.9 (Lincoln/Flathead County line)
  • Residents of Good Creek Road, and those who access Good Creek west to the Lincoln County line

All pre-evacuations that were issued on Aug. 17, 2023, are still in effect including for Olney.

east fork fire evacuation map

People are advised to be prepared to evacuate quickly in case the fire line moves.

A Mandatory Evacuation means there is a strong probability of wildfire moving into the targeted area. Ash and fire debris are likely and can spread with the high winds expected later Friday. Residents and visitors in the area should respond quickly and determine steps to secure your home, pets, livestock, and family. Residents, landlords, hotels, and businesses in this area should also have a plan in place to evacuate.

The Flathead County Sheriff's Office notes in a news release that "fire is unpredictable and can change rapidly. We cannot predict how much time people will have to evacuate, road conditions, etc. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT IF YOU ARE IN OR NEAR THE EVACUATION AREA THAT YOU LEAVE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE."

Members of the Flathead County Sheriff's Office are going door to door in the area.

People are asked to stay away from this section of Highway 93 until further notice. There is an increase in traffic including emergency response vehicles, large equipment, and law enforcement.

The American Red Cross has established a shelter at Columbia Falls Junior High School at , 1805 Talbot Road. People who plan to use the shelter are asked to contact the Red Cross in advance at 1-800-733-2767.

From the American Red Cross:

  • Gather your family or household members and delegate responsibilities.
  • Assemble an emergency kit to take with you when you evacuate. For a detailed list of items to include visit
  • Prepare an information kit with important documents like medical, banking and insurance records.
  • Save a list of emergency numbers on every cellphone.
  • Plan ahead for your pets and livestock. Ask local officials where you can bring them.
  • Identify a place to meet in case you are separated.
  • Plan and practice several evacuation routes from your neighborhood.

If an evacuation is imminent:

  • Tune in to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and dust. Keep indoor air clean by closing (but not locking) windows and doors. Close curtains, shutters, and blinds. Use the recycle mode on your air conditioner.
  • Turn on exterior lights.
  • Remove flammable items from decks and porches.
  • Open gates for animals that cannot be evacuated.
  • Connect a hose to an outside spigot, mark any water sources on your property, and leave a ladder for firefighters.
  • Put your emergency kit in your car. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape, with windows closed and keys in the ignition.
  • Put your best driver at the wheel. Turn on lights, drive slowly and watch out for emergency vehicles.

Evacuate as soon as the order is given. Don’t delay.
The Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 6 will take over command of the East Fork Fire at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19.

(first report: 12:47 p.m. - Aug. 18, 2023)

An evacuation notice has been issued for some residents in the area of the East Fork Fire burning in Flathead and Lincoln counties.

The Flathead County Sheriff's Office has issued an evacuation notice for an area south of Styker and just north of Olney as well as for the Good Creek area.

Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino tells MTN News that the evacuations affect around 200 buildings.

The East Fork Fire is estimated to be 3,000 acres.

Fire officials say they are concerned that lower humidity and high temperatures — combined with forecasted winds as high as 40 mph — could push the fire eastward on Friday.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office have issued pre-evacuation notices for residents in the potential fire path.

Aircraft are being used to check fire growth including retardant, helicopters, and scoopers.

There are 266 personnel assigned to the East Fork Fire with additional resources arriving Friday.