Lolo Peak Fire Update
Sunday, August 20, 2017, 8:30 am
Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
Greg Poncin, Incident Commander
A community meeting will be held at 7 pm this evening at the Baptist Church at 5561 Old US Highway 93 in Florence.It will be live streamed on both the Bitterroot and Lolo National Forests Facebook pages.
Highway 12 will reopen at 11 AM today with pilot cars: Until it is opened, East Bound Traffic is being diverted around the fire area to the north on the Grave Creek/petty Creek Road to I-90. West bound traffic is being turned around about three miles west of Lolo, MT.
Old highway 93 is closed to all traffic, except emergency vehicles, from Tie Chute Lane north.
The Incident Command Post (ICP), located in the Florence/Carlton School, will be moved to Klements Lane today. Staffed fire information will now be available at two locations: the Firewise Trailer, located at the weigh station in Lolo at the corner of Highways 12 and 93; and the Farmers State Bank parking lot at 5501 Old Highway 93 North in Florence.
The Montana National Guard is in place with 154 soldiers providing assistance to the Missoula and Ravalli County Sheriffs’ offices to provide security to evacuated areas.
Summary: While weather conditions weren’t as bad yesterday as they were the day before, significant fire behavior was exhibited along the east side of the fire later in the
day. This activity was easy to see from the Highway 93 corridor as the fire pushed eastward toward the control lines.
Today: Weather conditions are expected to moderate, resulting in generally slower winds, lower temperatures, and higher relative humidity. The reduction in fire behavior, as a result of the moderating weather, will give firefighters a chance to make progress in the areas that have been actively burning for the last two days or more. Firefighters will continue mop-up operations that were started yesterday around most of the fire perimeter today watching for any fire spots outside the control lines. Burnouts, both from the ground and air, will continue to be utilized in some locations to close the distance between the main fire and the control lines. The fire is still actively trying to move south between Carlton and Tie Chute Creeks.
Please do not stop along the highways to view fire activity as it creates a significant traffic hazard. In addition to traffic hazards, stopping along the highways impedes firefighter traffic, impacts the safety of firefighters and citizens, and increases the chances that the fire may escape control lines.
For information on how to improve the chances of your homes and structures surviving a wildfire, visit the Firewise website at www. Firewise.org.
Evacuations/Closure Information: Evacuations and warnings are still in effect. For current information visit the Missoula County and the Ravalli County Sheriffs’ Facebook pages.
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 and Ravalli County Sheriff’s Offices, and Montana Department of Transportation will evaluate the evacuation and road closures daily. The Incident Commander, Missoula County Rural Fire Chief, Ravalli County Fire Warden, the Missoula, and Ravalli County Sheriff’s appreciate your patience and will work hard to get you back into your homes as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Temporary Flight Restrictions for the Lolo Peak Fire remains in effect. This restriction includes “drones” or unmanned aerial vehicles. If drones are detected, air operations will stop. “If you fly, we can’t! A drone was reported in the fire area Friday, August 18. This resulted in fire managers shutting down air operations over the fire area during its major run along Highway 12. For us to effectively resolve drone incursions, please report them to 406-272-5433. We will need your name, phone number, the location and time you observed the drone. Your cooperation is needed to insure the safety of our pilots.
The Red Cross has opened a shelter at the University Congregation Church located at 405 University Avenue in Missoula.
For animal sheltering call Animal Control at 541-7387 and leave a message.
Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for Missoula and Ravalli Counties and across the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests. Additional information can be found on Inciweb.
Closures: The Bitterroot National Forest issued an Amendment, on August 1, 2017 for the Lolo Peak Fire that now includes Bass Creek FR #1136, beginning at the junction of FR#1316 and the Charles Waters Campground and through section 32, T.10N, R20W.
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 (FR #2160), Small Creek Road (FR #4292), West Fork Butte Trail (#320), Mill Creek Trail (#1310), Sweeney Trail (#393), and Bass Creek Trail (#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). It is being managed under unified command.
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.
Cooperators: The city of Stevensville, Ravalli & Missoula County Government; Ravalli and Missoula County Sheriff’s Offices; 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