A tiny island on Montana's Flathead Lake seems like a rather unlikely place for wildfire danger.

But that is what is happening, as reported by KPAX TV Monday night, and an official notice of closure to the public went into effect yesterday (August 4). Bird Island on Flathead Lake near Finley Point is closed to public access due to wildfire danger. And because of serious safety concerns related to fighting the fire on the island, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has made the decision to not actively suppress the fire.

Sighting those safety concerns and threats to public safety, Montana FWP implemented the emergency closure effective immediately. Bird Island encompasses 30 acres off the south shores of Flathead Lake. Boaters going to and from Polson Bay travel in its proximity as they pass through "The Narrows."

Bird Island is a habitat protection area that was originally purchased for goose nesting. FWP made the decision not to attempt to suppress the fire because of safety concerns related to so much dense undergrowth, downed or hanging tree snags and other hazards that make it unsafe for firefighters. That is according to Neil Anderson, Regional Wildlife Manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. While Anderson recognizes that there may be concerns about the fire’s damage to the island, the risk to the safety of the firefighters is too significant to actively engage the fire.


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