Weather and fire behavior: Today will be partly cloudy with a zero percent chance of showers. Wind will be from the west, 5-10 miles per hour with gusts of wind up to 20 miles per hour. Temperatures will be 65-70 degrees along ridges and 77-82 in the valleys. Minimum relative humidity will be 20-25 percent today.
Conditions will support for very active fire behavior today. Some crown fire is possible where wind, terrain and vegetation align and single tree, as well as group tree torching is expected.
Yesterday: Firefighters began slowly bringing fire down the hill on the northern perimeter yesterday. The fire did not cross primary containment lines.
It continued to expand on the west side dropping further into Johnny Creek and Dick Creek. Crews continue to maintain pumps, hoses and sprinklers to ensure they will be ready to protect homes and reinforce the fire line, if needed.
Today: Conditions permitting, firefighters anticipate more burnout operations as they work to ease fire down to containment lines between Mill Creek and South Fork Lolo Creek. Conditions are predicted to be dry this morning with anticipated longer burning periods throughout the day. Burnout operations involve carefully introducing fire in unburned areas between the active fire perimeter and containment lines to consume fuel next to the containment line, fighting fire with fire, to slow the advance of the fire front. Firing operations will be carried out by aerial ignition along with support on the ground.
Evacuations remain in place because of the proximity to homes and the very real potential for the fire to become very active over the next couple of days. Evacuations and road closures are based upon the need to provide for safety of the public and firefighters, current fire behavior, forecasted weather, and planned suppression operation.
Fire officials, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, and Montana Department of Transportation will evaluate the evacuation and road closures on a daily basis. The Incident Commander, Missoula Rural Fire Chief, and the Missoula County Sheriff appreciate your patience and will work hard to get you back into your homes as soon as safely possible.
Evacuations/Closure Information: Evacuation Orders are in effect for both the north and south sides of Highway 12 between Fort Fizzle west to Mile Post 20 at Bear Creek, which includes the Mill Creek Road and Elk Meadows Road areas. A Evacuation Warning has been issued for both the north and south sides of Highway 12 from Fort Fizzle east to Balsam Root Road, as well as residents on Morman Creek Road past Vann Drive and those on Vann Drive. This Warning is not an order to evacuate, only a warning so that citizens can prepare should evacuations become necessary. For further information call 258-INFO (4636).
Highway 12 is closed between Fort Fizzle and Grave’s Creek Road. There is a pilot car guiding traffic through the fire area on Highway 12. Please do not stop along the road to view fire activity as it creates a traffic hazard.