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Tribes contain Pistol Creek fire, burn season opens

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ST. IGNATIUS — Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Division of Fire responded to a report of a wildland fire in the Pistol Creek area of St. Ignatius around 2:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20. A CSKT initial attack engine was sent to the fire along with air operations and two Native American Crews to aid in suppression.

The fire, located six miles southeast of the town of St. Ignatius, was about 10 acres when firefighters arrived to put a fire line around it. Crews were able to keep the fire to about 15 acres, according to C.T. Camel, prevention specialist for the Division of Fire.

 “We’re probably 80-percent sure it is a lighting holdover,” Camel said, explaining that the fire likely started with a lightning strike that was only smoldering until it reached some old logging slash, he said, “and that’s when it showed its head.”

The fire was officially 100-percent contained as of 6 p.m. Sunday.

Although the Flathead Indian Reservation is at “high” fire danger, opening burning begins today. Fuels are fully cured, according to Ron Swaney, fire management officer for Division of Fire.

“People don’t have to burn. They can wait,” Swaney said. “Be aware we are still in high fire danger, and there is potential for piles to spread. Be vigilant and patrol while burning.” 

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