Lolo Peak Fire Update
Wednesday, August 30, 2017; 8:30 AM
Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
Doug Turman, Incident Commander
Fire origin: July 15, 2017, ten miles southwest of Lolo, MT.
Fire Information: (406) 272-5433 Hours: 7am – 9pm
Websites: Inciweb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5375
Missoula County Sheriff: http://tinyurl.com/ya93jpuf
Ravalli County: http://ravalli.us/557/Fire-Incident-Information
Facebook: Bitterroot National Forest Facebook Page
Lolo National Forest Facebook Page
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 P.M. WEDNESDAY THROUGH 9 P.M. THURSDAY
Weather: Cloud cover should keep fire activity moderated today until forecasted dry thunderstorms move into the area this afternoon from the southwest, bringing the possibility of outflow winds, lightning and the potential for new fire starts.
Fire Information Locations: Staffed fire information locations: Super 1 Foods in Stevensville; Farmers State Bank in Florence; and the weigh station in Lolo at the corner of Highways 12 and 93.
Evacuations and Warnings: All evacuation areas from the Bear Creek area on Highway 12 east to Lolo and south to the Bass Creek Road on Highway 93 remain under evacuation warning. There are no evacuation orders at this time, but this could change based on fire behavior.For current information visit the Missoula County and Ravalli County Sheriffs’ Facebook pages.
45 mPH speed limit through the fire area - HIGHWAYS ARE OPEN.
Summary: Fire activity moderated today due to cloud cover and smoke. This allowed for a seamless transition between the management teams and gave the new personnel a chance to survey the fire.
The fire continued to be most active in the One Horse Creek valley. After keeping it in check for a week with retardant and water drops, the fire is now backing down this steep valley. Crews used hose lays and sprinkler systems to reinforce the hand line at the mouth of the drainage while helicopters continued to drop water on the fire to stall its movement.
Mop up continues along the northwest side of the fire along Elk Meadows Road just north of the boarder. Elsewhere on the fire, firefighters are pulling hose and other equipment to be refurbished for use either in other areas of the fire or neighboring fires.
Meanwhile, because there are no evacuations in place, the 150 Montana National Guard personnel were released to either return to their home or help with efforts on the Rice Ridge Fire northeast of Seeley Lake, Montana.
Today: A red flag warning will be in effect starting at 1 p.m. today through 9 p.m. predicting a mixture of wet and dry thunderstorms with strong downburst winds that will be 30-45 mph along the ridges.
As the fire continues to back down into the One Horse Creek drainage, firefighters will monitor its movement. The south-facing slope is rocky, slowing the fire’s progress as it moves down the drainage a few miles west of the end of Tie Chute Lane. Firefighters have been expecting and preparing for the fire’s movement. If the fire’s pace picks up and moves east, burnout operations may be implemented if needed. Burnout operations allow the fire to progress in a slow, deliberate manner. At that point smoke will be visible in Florence.
Today, firefighters will prepare areas for burning operations to eliminate the gaps between the already burned blocks created as a buffer along the primary control line south from One Horse Creek to Bass Creek. As the conditions allow, firefighters will conduct these smaller burnout operations in the upcoming days to create a larger buffer along the fire line in the event the fire tries to move east towards the valley.
Please do not stop along the highways to view fire activity. It creates a significant traffic hazard, 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 operations. 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, and the Missoula and Ravalli County Sheriffs appreciate your patience and will work hard to get you back into your homes as soon as it is safe to do so. Go to the Sheriffs Offices’ Facebook pages for the most current information.
Drones and TFR: The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for the Lolo Peak Fire remains in effect. The restriction includes “drones” or unmanned aerial vehicles. If drones are detected, air operations stop. “If you fly, we can’t! If you see a drone in the fire area, including the evacuation areas, report it immediately to 406-272-5433. Please provide your name, phone number, 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: For specific area closure information on the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests please visit the Inciweb website, the Lolo National Forest website and/or the Bitterroot National Forest website.
Jurisdiction: 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 Commander Turman, Missoula Rural Fire Chief Newman and Ravalli County Fire Warden Mohn.
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: Stevensville, Ravalli & Missoula County Government; Ravalli and Missoula County Sheriffs' Offices; Missoula Rural Fire; Florence VFD; Florence – Carlton School District; Nez Perce Tribe; Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; MDOT; Carlton and Bass Lake Irrigation; Ravalli and Missoula County DES; Private Landowners.