Lolo Peak Fire Update
Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 8:00 am
Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
Greg Poncin, Incident Commander
Fire Information: (406) 272-5433 Hours: 7am – 9pm
Interactive Fire Map: http://tinyurl.com/yacsw2cv
Location:Ten miles southwest of Lolo.
An Evacuation Warning was issued by the Missoula County Sheriff about 4 pm Tuesday for the area south of Highway 12 from Fort Fizzle west to the intersection with the Elk Meadows road; this includes the Mill Creek area.
A Public Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 3rd, Florence Baptist Church, 5561 Old Hwy 93, at 7pm.
Highway 12 remains open. Please stop by the Firewise trailer located on the eastside of the intersection of Hwy 12 and Hwy 93 or the Florence-Carlton School for current fire information.
A temporary flight restriction remains in place surrounding the fire. This restriction includes “drones” or unmanned aerial vehicles. If drones are detected, air operations will stop. “If you fly, we can’t!”
Weather and fire behavior: Temperatures will be in the 80’s to low 90’s through the week with relative humidity in the 20 percent range. Following the frontal passage Tuesday night, today’s winds will be northeast to east with gusts to 15 mph. The northeast winds are expected to last through Thursday and then return to more typical northwesterly flow on Friday. The Fire will remain active to very active for the remainder of the week continuing to move to the north and west.
Yesterday: The fire became very active in the afternoon within the South Fork Lolo Creek drainage moving slowly both north and east, producing single and group tree torching. By late afternoon the fire crossed over Lantern Ridge entering the Cedar Creek drainage, initiating the Evacuation Warning by theMissoula County Sheriff. On the west side of the South Fork Lolo Creek near the ridge line the fire is progressing towards Dick Creek. The retardant line that was established along the ridge between South Fork Lolo Creek and Johnny Creek is holding well and was extended north, limiting the westerly movement; utilizing 56,000 gallons of retardant. The southern perimeter of the fire experienced little movement so no aerial ignition was necessary. Following completion of the primary control line along the Highway 93 corridor the heavy equipment resources were relocated to work northwest of the fire along the Elk Meadows Road.
Today: Retardant will continue to be used to limit the fire’s spread to the west. Aerial ignition will be evaluated for use on both the east and west side of South Fork Lolo Creek to limit southern growth and keep the fire west of the Bitterroot divide. Crews have completed 27 miles of control line between the fire and homes, along the Highway 12 and Hwy 93 corridors as they continue south toward Brooks Creek. Alternate lines are still being identified and constructed. Excavators, wood chippers, and dump trucks will work removing slash piles next to the control line. Firefighters and heavy equipment are working along the Elk Meadows Road for use as the primary control line.
Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for Missoula and Ravalli Counties and across the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests.
Closures: The Bitterroot National Forest issued an Amendment, on August 1, 2017 for the Lolo Peak Fire that now includes Bass Creek NFSR #1136, beginning at the junction of NFSR#1316 and the Charles Waters Campground and through section 32, T.10N, R20W. The Charles Waters Campground remains open.
The Area Closure was Amended, on July 27, 2017 for the Lolo Peak Fire and now includes the following roads and trails as well as those encompassed by the area closure intersecting with open roads and trails; Elk Meadow Road (NFSR #451) from Junction US Hwy 12 to the Clearwater National Forest Boundary, West Fork Butte Road (NFSR #37 ) from the West Fork Butte Lookout to the intersection with the Elk Meadow Road (NFSR #451),Mormon Peak Road (NFSR #612), South Fork Lolo Creek Road (NFSR #2160), Small Creek Road (NFSR #4292), West Fork Butte Trail (NFST #320), Mill Creek Trail (NFST #1310), Sweeney Trail (NFST #393), and Bass Creek Trail (NFST #4). For specific road, trail and area closure information please visit the Inciweb website.
The fire is under the jurisdiction of the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests and the Montana Department of Natural Resources (MTDNRC).
Missoula County residents can receive emergency notifications of critical alerts via their choice of text, phone and/or email by signing up at Smart911.com. Residents in Ravalli County can download the Ravalli County Sheriff’s app to their mobile devices to receive critical information notifications.
Is your home fire-safe? While nothing is ever fire-proof, there are some things you can do to protect your home and community now. Here are just a few actions you can take:
Clean out gutters, sweep decks and clean off your roof. These places can catch wind-driven embers that will ignite your home.
· Remove leaf clutter and branches overhanging the roof. Vegetation should not touch the home.
· Make sure that there are no flammable materials within 3 to 5 feet around the building.
· Dispose of plant debris according to local regulations.
· Keep your grass cut short and well-watered within a 30 foot radius of structures.
· Store firewood away from the house.
· Organize a neighborhood cleanup day. By helping your entire community, you’ll be providing better protection to yourself.
· Helpful Links:
ü Fire Safe Montana: http://firesafemt.org/
ü FireWise Communities: http://www.firewise.org/?sso=0
Cooperators: Stevensville, Ravalli & Missoula County Government; Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office; Missoula County Sheriff’s Office; Lolo School District; Missoula Rural Fire; Florence VFD; MDOT; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Carlton and Bass Lake Irrigation; Florence – Carlton School District; Ravalli and Missoula County DES; Private Landowners