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Homes Burn, Hundreds Evacuated as Lolo Complex Fire Destroys 5,000 Acres

The Lolo Complex Fire was originally two low-priority fires that did not threaten structures. However, in the past 40 hours, hot weather and winds have fanned the fires into an official state of emergency. Now, the West Fork II fire and the original School House Fire are considered one giant threat as they burn on both sides of Highway 12.

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Smoky missoula
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Highway 12 Closed – Homes Evacuated Due to Rapid Growth of Schoolhouse and West Fork 2 Fires [AUDIO]

UPDATE 4:15 p.m. Monday, August 19

Mandatory evacuations are in effect in the Bear Creek area as two fires, the School House and the West Fork 2, are combining to burn hundreds of acres and send smoke billowing up over Blue Mountain raining ash on homes in Lolo and into Missoula.

Missoula County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer paige Pavalone said at about 4 p.m. Monday, that deputies were contacting residents in the path of the fires to leave their homes immediately.

"We're asking people if they're asked by a deputy to evacuate, to leave their homes right away, recover their animals and leave as quickly as possible," Pavalone said.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office Facebook page has a minute-by-minute update of areas that are under evacuation. Just moments ago, the notice was posted that Bear Creek, Elk Meadows, Lolo Creek Campground, Sleeman Creek and Thayer Road have been advised to evacuate, and that the Lolo Elementary School has been opened as a place for evacuees to gather.

There will be a special meeting for residents in the area at the Travelers' Rest State Park at 6 p.m. Monday.
Paige Pavalone

The smoke billowing above Missoula on Monday, August 19 comes mostly from the Schoolhouse Fire, currently burning about nine miles west of Lolo.

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Gold pan Fire
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Gold Pan Fire Grows, Two New Fires Absorbed into the Complex

The Gold Pan Fire Complex near the Idaho-Montana border is getting more difficult to fight as two new fires were absorbed into the main blaze this week.

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Category: Montana News Tags: ,
Gold Pan Fire
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Gold Pan Complex Expands, But Not Toward Montana

The Gold Pan Complex fire is still burning just about ten miles from the western Montana Border in Eastern Idaho.

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red flag
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Red Flag Warning Issued for Western Montana, 40 M.P.H. Winds and Lightning Expected

Most of Western Montana will be under a red flag warning this afternoon, August 9.

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tree on fire
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Butte Cabin Fire Near Missoula Cut Back to Just Eight Acres

A tanker flying back to Missoula spotted a new fire in the hills just southeast of town late Monday evening, but quick work by fire crews have limited the damage.

The Butte Cabin Fire is still burning about 25 miles south east of Missoula and so far the cause of the blaze is still undetermined

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Category: Montana News Tags: ,
fire danger
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Missoula County in Extreme Fire Danger After Nearly 20 Human Caused Fires in One Week

Missoula County has now reached the highest fire danger level possible with a new "extreme" fire danger declaration by the Missoula County Fire Protection Association.

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fire plume
Photo courtesy of David King
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Jocko Fire Reaches Reaches 1500 Acres on Sunday, Likely Human Caused

Dry temperatures and gusty winds carried a fire in the Jocko canyon to over 700 acres in just a matter of hours on Saturday, July 28. Smoke from the fire blanketed Missoula by the afternoon.

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Category: Montana News Tags: ,
Mill Creek Fire Friday
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Update – Mill Creek Fire Almost Contained at 700 Acres [AUDIO]

UPDATE 1:00 p.m. Friday, July 26

The Mill Creek Fire is now at 700 acres in the area around Frenchtown, and fire crews are working to complete containment lines around the fire. Firefighters from local agencies and departments are working the fire today. The strategy is to keep the fire from growing.

DNRC Fire Information Officer Cindy Super said Friday afternoon that evacuees are being allowed to return to their homes,

"We pretty much lifted the evacuations, though that could change in any minute," Super said. "The fire is still active, and the other thing is that we have a lot of traffic in the area with crews coming in and out. We're keeping those roads open to local traffic and local emergency traffic only. People have been very supportive of the firefighters and we really appreciate everyone working with us to keep people safe."
DNRC Fire Information Officer Cindy Super

UPDATE 2:00 a.m. Friday, July 26

The Mill Creek Fire has consumed between 550 and 700 acres of grassland near Frenchtown. The Missoula County Sheriff's Department's Facebook page has an update list of streets and neighborhoods that have received voluntary evacuation notices.. They include: Mill Creek Road, Spur Road, Groom Road, Spring Hill Road, Bunchgrass, Junegrass, Chula Vista, Fred Lane and Porte Lane.

Fire Information officer Cindy Super as of 9:00 p.m. Thursday night..


 

UPDATE - 4:00 p.m. Thursday, July 25

Department of Natural Resources and Conservation spokesperson Cindy Super said the grass fire near Frenchtown started when a mower struck a rock, sparking the fire that raced up the hill near Mill Creek.

"The fire started around two this afternoon and it went really fast up the hill with all the light slashy fuels in the grass and its about 100 acres by now," Super said.

"We have a single engine air tanker, we have a couple of helicopters and we have crews and fire engines from DNRC, the Forest Service, Frenchtown Fire, Missoula Rural, Missoula City Fire and traffic control by the county sheriff's department and the Montana Highway Patrol. Evacuations are in effect basically between Mill Creek and Fred Lane."

Super said people who do not live in the area should stay away so that emergency vehicles can access the area.

"People can expect a delay if they're trying to get into an evacuated area," Super said. "We're really trying to keep people from clogging the roads, and we would ask if people don't need to be in this area they just need to stay away."

Super said no homes have been lost.

DNRC Spokesperson Cindy Super

 

Our news partners KECI-TV/NBC Montana are reporting a grass fire in Frenchtown that broke out Thursday afternoon.

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Michelle Hammack
WTEV
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Heroic Teacher Fired for Saving Children From Fire

The heat is on a Jacksonville, Florida daycare that fired a teacher for saving her kids from a fire.

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