FWP discourages floating on Smith River due to fire and low flows

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is discouraging any floating on the Smith River due to safety concerns and low flows.

The Meagher County Sheriff’s Office has issued a pre-evacuation notice for the Smith River corridor from Camp Baker to the confluence with Blacktail Creek due to the Ellis Fire, which is part of the Divide Complex fires that include the Balsinger Fire near Neihart and Monarch. The fire complex is an estimated 2,500 acres, according to InciWeb and the Ellis Fire is about 10 percent contained.

The portion of the Smith River from the confluence of the north and south forks to Eden Bridge south of Great Falls remains closed to all fishing daily from 2 p.m. to midnight due to low flows and high water temperatures, according to a release from FWP.

Divide Complex fire grows, meeting set for tonight in Neihart [July 12]

The gauge at Eagle Creek is measuring 55 cubic feet per second and well below what is recommended for floating, according to FWP.

More restrictions due to the fire are possible, according to FWP.

FWP issues fishing restrictions on Smith, Sun rivers

A Type 3 Incident Management Team will assume command of the Divide Complex on July 14, according to InciWeb, and there are 143 personnel assigned to the fire.

The Balsinger Fire prompted the evacuation of Belt Park, between Monarch and Neihart, according to the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, and a Red Cross evacuation shelter was opened at St. Mark’s Catholic Church at 132 Castner St. in Belt. The toll free number is 1-800-272-6668.