Lolo Peak Fire Update
Friday, September 1, 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
Weather: Following the thunderstorms a high pressure system is expected to return with persistent hot and dry weather. Temperatures will rise into the 90s at lower elevations and mid-80s on the ridges.
Fire Information Locations: Staffed fire information locations are at Super 1 Foods in Stevensville and Farmers State Bank in Florence. Fire information is also available at the weigh station in Lolo at the corner of Highways 12 and 93.
Evacuations and Warnings: The evacuation warning status was lifted for residents living in certain sections of the highway 12 and 93 corridors. This includes the Highway 12 corridor from mile marker 24 near and including Arena Drive to the Highway 93 junction in Lolo. In the Highway 93 corridor, the evacuation warning was lifted for residents starting at mile marker 79 near and including the Gravel Pit off of Old Highway 93 and the McClain Creek Road north to the Highway 12 junction. The evacuation warning remains in place in the Bear Creek and Elk Creek areas on Highway 12 east of Lolo and in the Highway 93 corridor from McClain Creek Road south to Bass Creek Road. 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: Smoke and fire was visible throughout the area due to fire activity in the One Horse Drainage, the upper end of Sweeney Creek, and the northwestern side of the fire as it cleaned out pockets of timber that were previously unburned. Helicopters dropped buckets of water checking the fire on the south slope of the One Horse Creek drainage. Increased afternoon winds pushed the fire slowly uphill. Members of air operations were able to view the entire fire from the air today and two large helicopters worked around changing wind conditions to dump buckets of water and retardant. As the winds died down and humidity increased in the evening, the fire became less active.
Due to the favorable weather conditions, firefighters took the opportunity to complete burn operations to connect the already burned blocks that were created as a buffer along the primary control line south from One Horse Creek to Bass Creek. A total of 110 individuals including three 20-member crews, 8 engines, and 2 water tender trucks worked through the night. They used hand torches to ignite the fuels and bring the fire down slowly from the top of the hill.
Mop up continues from the northwest side of the fire along Elk Meadows Road. Elsewhere on the fire, firefighters are pulling hose and other equipment for use either in other areas of the fire or neighboring fires. Mop up along the Highway 12 was completed and personnel will continue patrolling the area. Work has begun to repair areas damaged during suppression of the fire along the Highway 12 corridor.
Today: Fire activity is expected to be less active today in the One Horse drainage where the fire is burning in mixed conifer fuels. The public may see isolated tree torching from deep inside the fire line as wind kicks up flames that continue to consume unburned pockets of fuel.
Firefighters will monitor the fire’s movement and continue to prepare for burning operations if needed. Burnout operations allow the fire to progress in a slow, deliberate manner. At that point smoke will be visible in Florence.
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.