August 9, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
A lightning-caused fire is burning on the edge of the Mission Mountains Wilderness west of Lindbergh Lake. The size of the fire, called the Bunyan Lake Fire, was estimated at less than 10 acres as of Tuesday morning. However, detailed surveys of the burned area had not yet been conducted and fire officials were expecting increased fire activity Tuesday afternoon. The upper portions of the Lindbergh Lake Road to Bunyan Lake have been closed to the public. The road leads to the main trailhead for Crystal Lake, which has also been closed. The fire is burning northeast of Crystal Lake close to the road end.
A large column of smoke billowed up from the fire on Monday afternoon, and fire managers immediately responded with several retardant drops, a helicopter which dropped water on hot spots, and firefighters working on the ground. By Tuesday afternoon, a total of 50 fire fighters had been assigned to the fire to dig fire lines and control small spot fires in the vicinity. A fire management team is now headquartered at the Forest Service Condon Work Center.
Firefighter safety is a primary concern. Fire managers want the public to know that firefighters will be pulled off of the fire if conditions warrant. Air attack of the fire, including the helicopter water drops and air tanker retardant drops will continue as necessary.
Local residents who have questions about the fire, or about any other possible sightings of smoke, may call the Swan River State Forest at Goat Creek (754-2301) or the Forest Service Condon Work Center (754-2295). Daily updates will be posted locally.
To report a fire or any other emergency, call 9-1-1.