Bear Paw Ski Bowl, a small independent ski hill located in Havre, Montana, is under threat by a major wildfire burning on Mount Baldy. Located on Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, it’s moving quickly toward Beaver Creek Park. Hill County Commissioner Mark Peterson reported the fire to the Havre Daily News yesterday afternoon. Hill County DES Coordinator Amanda Frickel told the outlet an advisory has been put out for people to stay off of Taylor Road from Beaver Creek Park to Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation due to the fire burning on Mount Baldy.
According to a post on Bear Paw Ski Bowl’s Facebook Page, help was on the way as of late Wednesday evening. Two tankers were heading to the location from Missoula, and another was coming in from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. The post indicated a Lead plane is en route, as well as two Single Engine Tankers from Lewistown, MT. Additionally, it noted two helicopters were on the scene. The cause of the fire is unknown.
The fire is now burning in Hill, Chouteau, and Blaine counties, and fire crews and law enforcement across all three counties have responded to help put out the blaze. However, information on the fire remains somewhat scarce. Per the Havre Daily News, as of Thursday afternoon, the fire was spreading quickly reaching about 8,500 acres in its entirety, and was zero percent contained on the reservation side. A recent update from Bear Paw’s Facebook Page included a quote from a member of Bear Paw Ski Bowl’s Alumni Association and Nepture Air Pilot Dave Martens stating:
“Al just got off the phone with the Lead Plane pilot. He said he had good eyes on the ski hill, the Lodge, the lift and everything was still in good standing and the fire was pushing away from it (Eastbound) with a good road between. “Extreme fire behavior” on Mt Baldy. Said it’s the most active fire he’s seen yet this season…”
Hats off to the Chippewa Cree fire crews and all the firefighters involved who are battling to extinguish this beast of fire. Let’s hope they can put it out it quickly and the ski hill doesn’t sustain any major damages.