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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For July 5, 2016

A firefighter looks on as trees burn in the Pole and Fine fires near Ennis, Montana July 3, 2016.
A firefighter looks on as trees burn in the Pole and Fine fires near Ennis, Montana July 3, 2016.

The latest news on wildfires burning around western Montana.

Last update: 5:25 p.m., 07/05/16

Elk Trail Loop Fire

An evacuation order was lifted this morning in the area of a 10-acre fire near Lincoln that damaged a cabin and a vehicle, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said.
The evacuation order was issued yesterday afternoon, and residents of about a dozen cabins fled.
Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the Elk Trail Loop fire, which started in an area where a road enters a small subdivision. It also damaged four outbuildings.

Observation Fire

Fire managers on the Observation fire 10 miles southwest of Hamilton had the luxury of not competing for crews because of a lack of major wildfires in the Northwest.

That fire was being called 20 percent contained this morning.
Nearly 600 people are helping fight it. They also have nine helicopters and support from retardant bombers based in Missoula.
Crews rappelled from helicopters into a rugged area on the eastern side of the fire yesterday and cleared trees to create a camp, a safety zone and a spot to land helicopters. Hotshot crews were going to use the camp as a base to begin working the western side of the fire today.

Fire Information Officer Anne Rys-Sikora:

"The intention on the west side is to get a type one hot shot crew, and a type 2 hand crew into that spike camp.”
Fire managers were expecting less wind today and rain later in the week, which may ease the concerns of Darby-area residents who have been warned to be prepared to evacuate.

Lightning started the fire on June 24.

Pole & Fine Fires

The lightning-caused Pole and Fine fires about 15 miles southwest of Ennis are currently estimated at 46 acres, with no containment. It's being worked by 10 smoke jumpers, 3 engines, 1 hand crews, and 1 helicopter. These fires were discovered on the afternoon of June 30.

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