Lolo Peak Fire Update
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 8:30 AM
Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
Greg Poncin, Incident Commander
For Missoula County evacuees: call 406 258-INFO (4636).
For Ravalli County evacuees: call 406-375-4055.
Evacuations and Warnings: More evacuation orders were reduced to warnings Monday morning and evening, allowing more residents back into their homes. Evacuations were downgraded Monday evening to warning status for residents on Balsam Root, Folsom and Highland roads and residents north of W. Carlton Creek road and east of the county maintained road sign. Evacuations and warnings are still in effect, and can change at any time based on fire behavior. For the most current information visit the Missoula County and the Ravalli County Sheriffs’ Facebook pages.
RETURNING HOME: As residents return home, they may see changes that have occurred to their property as a result of firefighting operations. Once home, check your property for evidence of fire, your well/pump, and electric/gas meter and propane tank. Contact 911 if any danger is perceived.
Highway 12 is open with a pilot car.
Old highway 93 is closed to all traffic, except emergency vehicles, from Tie Chute Lane north. Resident passes are available for those people who live between the Old 93 and New 93 Highways. Contact the Missoula or Ravalli County Sheriffs’ office for details.
Fire Information Locations: Staffed fire information is available at: Farmers State Bank parking lot at 5501 Old Highway 93 North in Florence; and the Firewise Trailer, located at the weigh station in Lolo at the corner of Highways 12 and 93.
Summary: Weather conditions were moderate again, allowing burn out operations in several areas around the fire. Aerial ignition that began yesterday afternoon on the mountain between Buckinghorse Trail south to One Horse Creek (west of Florence) was completed by night crews using hand ignition to bring the fire to the control line and start mop up. Fire has reached most of the control line above the Highway 12 corridor where mop up is in progress. Firefighters continue mop up to secure the control line in the Highway 93 corridor from Lolo south to One Horse Creek.
Today: Weather conditions today are expected to be similar to yesterday, which will allow firefighters to make more progress mopping up and securing fire lines. Burn out operations may be completed today near OZ Ranch if conditions are favorable, but most of the work above the Highway 12 corridor will be mop up along the control line. The fire west of Florence remains a concern to fire managers as it continues to have the potential to move south. Additional control line south of Florence has already been improved with hose lays, pumps, and portable water tanks if needed.
Please do not stop along the highways to view fire activity. 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 could escape control lines.
Firewise: For information on how to improve the chances of your homes and structures surviving a wildfire, visit the Firewise website at www. Firewise.org.
Evacuation/Closure Information: 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 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.
Drones and TFR: The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) 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! If you see a drone in the fire area, including the evacuation areas, please report it immediately to 406-272-5433. Please provide your name, phone number, the location and time you observed the drone. Your cooperation is needed to insure the safety of our pilots.
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: A August 1st Bitterroot National Forest Amendment for the Lolo Peak Fire included 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 consisting of Incident Commanders Poncin, Missoula Rural Fire Department Chief Newman and Ravalli County Fire Warden Mohn. The Montana National Guard is in place with 150 soldiers providing assistance to the Missoula and Ravalli County Sheriffs’ offices in road closures and evacuation programs.
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.