Garceau Fire on Flathead Reservation Nearing Containment
The Garceau Fire that has been burning on the Flathead Reservation since August 16 is now in the mop-up stage after reduced winds and a wetting rain that occurred over the weekend.
We News spoke to C.T. Camel, Fire Information Officer for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on Monday morning for an update on the fire that had scorched nearly 7,000 acres over the weekend.
“Over the weekend, the crews and the Incident Three Team were able to get a line around it and have a successful burnout that stopped the head of the fire,” said Camel. “Then the very next day is when the rains came and hit the fire and knocked it down for the firefighters and now we're in mop-up stage, checking the perimeters for hot spots.”
Camel said investigators believe The Garceau Fire was human-caused, and the initial cause was a malfunctioning electric fence.
“This was a person-caused fire, and it's looking to be due to an electric fence,” he said. “The fire started Tuesday, August 16th and at one point there was 340 personnel on the fire. It did reach 6,724 acres and as of this (Monday) morning, the fire is 40 percent contained.”
Camel provided a brief prognosis of the Garceau Fire moving forward.
“I think in the next couple of days we've got some wind, you know, it's going to be hot again, they'll look to keep everybody around for the next couple of days,” he said. “Then if nothing should happen, then I think they'll going to start transitioning into maybe a Type Four organization and they'll start removing some resources. Prior to becoming a Type Four fire, we have aviation crews and other equipment, when it starts to be a larger incident. Then you start going to the type three and type two, and then type one.”
Temperatures will remain in the mid to upper 90s in the area this week.
According to Inciweb, there are no evacuations and there are no structures threatened at the moment. Irvine Flats and Garcon Gulch Roads going up to Windy Gap are closed to through traffic.