Terrain Satellite
Lion Creek
13.4 mi
NNE of Condon, MT
5 months
it's burned for
Last Updated:
3 weeks ago
Incident #:
Fire Start:
Tuesday, August 11, 2020 5:00 AM MDT

Current Weather

Fire Growth Potential

Fire Weather Forecast

Incident Overview Updated: 3 months ago

Incident Photo for the Lion Creek Fire

September 7, 2020 Morning Update

Lion Creek continues to show little to no growth. Fire activity is limited to green wedges of sub alpine fir within the fire perimeter. Active areas were sheltered from the winds Sunday. Estimated Size: 190 acres.

August 25, 2020 Evening Update

Due to smoke, fire managers have been unable to fly the fire the last two days. The majority of activity continues to be isolated to a few timber stringers where fire continues to back down the slope and to the east. Aerial reconnaissance will resume once the smoke clears. Estimated Size: 170 acres.

August 23, 2020 Morning Update

Lion Cr was a bit more active on 8/22/2020 than it has been the last few burn periods. Fire continues to back down slope towards Lion Creek and to the east. There was occasional single tree torching when fire was able to make if off the surface and up into the canopy of the Sub Alpine Fir. Fire spread to the north/northeast continues to be checked by the ridge to the north. Estimated Size: 170 acres

August 22, 2020 Morning Update

Activity on the Lion Creek fire was limited on 8/21/2020 to interior creeping in the subalpine fir timber stringers.

August 21, 2020 Morning Update

The Lion Creek Fire is currently 160-165 acres. The fire continues to burn to the east and up drainage with little to no activity on the west flank. There is a ridge with change of aspect that continues to check the fire up and limit it from spreading to the north/northeast. The fire area did receive precipitation over the last 2 days of thunderstorms which has also moderated fire behavior. Weather is expected to get hotter/drier and windier through the weekend. The fire continues to be monitored by air, specifically watching for any fire spread to the west. There is still an area closure in place.

Lion Creek Fire August 18, 2020 Update

The last two days under high pressure brought hot and dry day time conditions and strong night time thermal belts keeping the Lion Creek Fire active. Size: 161 acres.

The primary carrier of the fire continues to be heavy dead and downed fuels within an old prescribed fire burn scar from 1996. The fire is burning on a steep southerly aspect and continues to actively spread to the east. Short uphill runs are hitting the top of the ridge then backing downslope along the ridgeline to where Lion Cr turns to the north. This predominate ridge with a change to a northerly aspect is currently keeping the fire from establishing itself to the north. The fire is within a mile of an outfitter camp that is located in the north bowl of Lion Cr. There was a little activity on the west flank of the fire down by the Lion Creek Trail, but otherwise little to no spread west. The current plan of action is to monitor fire spread particularly to the west down drainage into the valley. Although this is a low probability event, we will continue to plan for it.

Lion Creek Summary August 12, 2020 

Flathead National Forest firefighters are working on suppressing a fire in a remote area of the Swan Mountain Range.

The Lion Creek Fire was reported Tuesday, August 11, burning in heavy fuels on steep slopes, by a Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation helicopter flying over to another incident.The Forest immediately sent ground crews and helicopters for initial attack. Due to its remote location, it took ground crews approximately three hours to hike to the fire. No roads access the area. Once there, firefighters were only able to engage the fire in a limited manner due to falling snags and steep, rugged terrain. Helicopter resources were able to moderate fire spread, accessing a nearby lake for water and quick turnaround times.

An area closure order was put in place August 12, and the Lion Creek Trail #25 is closed

The Forest expects that this fire may require a longer duration response due to its location and the difficulties it presents with access, steep terrain, falling snags, and heavy forest fuels.

This year, due to Covid-19, the Forest Service is using aggressive initial attack, supported by available air-tankers and helicopters wherever possible to extinguish wildfires quickly and minimize the need to bring large numbers of firefighters together. Fire managers understand the potential complications wildfire smoke may cause for COVID-19 patients and others with respiratory issues. The Forest will work closely with communities to assist with forecasting and preparation for wildfire smoke.

Basic Information

Incident Type:
Date of Origin:
Tuesday August 11th, 2020 approx. 11:00 AM
10 miles NE of Condon, MT
Incident Commander:
Brandon Hightower ICT4/Daniel Sullivan ICT4(t)
47.677, -113.638

Current Situation

Total Personnel:
Size (Acres):
Estimated Containment Date:
Saturday October 31st, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved:
Timber (litter and understory); Brush (2 feet)

Planned Outlook

Planned Actions:
Crews will continue to monitor fire activity and develop contingency planning.

Incident Contact

Incident Contact
Swan Lake Ranger District
Phone: (406) 837-7500
Hours: M-F 0800-1630
Fire Unit Information
Flathead National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
650 Wolfpack Way
Kalispell, MT 59901