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Missoula Rural Fire Department Responds to Out of Control Burn Up Pattee Canyon

Missoula Rural Fire
Photo courtesy of Peter Christian

What was a controlled burn quickly turned into an out of control fire Thursday in the 5000 block of Pattee Canyon Road in Missoula. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Newman said Missoula Rural Fire Department received the call at about 12:55 p.m. Thursday afternoon:

“We had a controlled burn,” Newman said. “It actually, you know, the darned winds picked up and the next thing you know, it had gone from controlled to out of control. It ended up burning about a little over five acres. I believe we had 22 firefighters that were on scene to fight the blaze. When all was said and done, I believe there were 10 total engines that responded.”

In fact, MRFD responded with two wild land engines, two water tenders, and was assisted by the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources, East Missoula Fire, and Clinton Fire.

Newman said until firefighters had a complete line around the blaze, it took a few hours to get under control.

“One of the problems was access,” Newman said. “It was in an area that had difficult access for our guys to get in to. There was a fair amount of hiking in, laying some hose lines, and access in some of those areas always plays a significant role in how quick we can get in there and how many resources we can also get in to fight the fire.”

Newman said no structures or homes were lost and no injuries were reported.

Newman and the MRFD want to remind people to be careful, have the appropriate resources on scene such as water and hand tools when burning, and to be well educated in handling an out of control situation if the winds do pick up.

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