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

Montana Wildfire Update For July 11, 2021

Montana Wildfire News

Updated 6:13 p.m., July 11, 2021

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and the U.S. Forest Service has asked the residents of Belt Park west of Highway 89 to begin evacuation immediately.

The Balsinger Fire, which is seven miles west of Neihart, has experienced a dramatic increase in activity due to weather and wind conditions.

Get updates at the Cascade County Disaster and Emergency Services Facebook page.

Updated 6:05 p.m., July 11, 2021

Via inciweb: Due to rapidly changing fire conditions on the MY Complex evacuation notice has been issued in Musselshell County for anyone living in the following areas: East of Queen's Point road, south of Harvey Road, west of Melstone-Custer Road and north of Alkali Creek Road.

A pre-evacuation notice has been ordered for residents along the river corridor between Highway 12 and Harvey Road.

Red Cross is setting up a temporary shelter at the Roundup Community Center. Hotline is 1-800-272-3338 for more evacuation location and check in.

The MY Complex consists of three wildland fires reported on July 8, 2021, including:

Western Road Fire, located approximately 7 miles southeast of Roundup, Montana.

Peterson Fire, located approximately 12 miles south of Melstone, Montana.

Musselshell Trail Fire, located approximately 22 miles southeast of Musselshell, Montana and 15 miles northwest of Custer, Montana.

The complex is listed as 24,007 acres in size.

Pre evacuation notice issued for the Smith River corridor

A pre-evacuation notice has been issued for Smith River corridor from Camp Baker to the confluence with Blacktail Creek. The Ellis Fire has strong potential to spread north and/or northeast. A red flag warning is in effect until tonight.

Updated 1:12 p.m., July 11, 2021

Evacuation warning in effect due to Lolo Creek Fire

The Missoula Sheriff’s office says an evacuation warning along Highway 12 from the Idaho border to Lolo Hot Springs remains in effect due to the Lolo Creek Fire. The warning was issued late Saturday night after the wildfire was first reported around 5 p.m.

According to the Lolo National Forest, the fire is estimated to be 12 acres in size and is burning between mile marker one and two along the Highway 12 corridor. Officials say the fire continues to burn actively in heavy dead and downed timber about a mile west of Highway 12. Officials say if you are traveling along the highway, do not stop.

Firefighters will conduct structure protection assessments Sunday. As of early Sunday afternoon, no structures were immediately threatened, but officials say that could change depending on fire activity.
 

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Credit Inciweb
The Rock Creek Fire along Interstate 15 north of Helena.

The Rock Creek Fire was reported Saturday afternoon north of Helena near Highway 287. As of Sunday morning, fire officials estimated the wildfire to be 2,560 acres.

The Lewis & Clark County Sheriff’s office evacuated residents along Craig River Road to Highway 287 Saturday and a portion of Interstate 15 was closed. Craig River Road residents were allowed to return to their homes Sunday morning and I-15 was restricted to one lane near Highway 287. Sevenmile Road is closed to all traffic.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources is managing the fire. An air tanker, two helicopters and a heli-attack crew are working the fire along with multiple fire engines. The blaze is burning primarily on private land. A DNRC spokesman says firefighters were able to establish an initial fireline Saturday night into Sunday, but containment remains at 0 percent. Firefighters will be working through Sunday to secure that fireline.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for eastern Glacier, Toole, central and eastern Pondera, Liberty, Hill, and Blaine counties as well as Choteau and Fergus counties. The warning also includes portions of the Lewis and Clark, and Helena national forests. The warning lasts from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

The West Lolo Complex was estimated to be 1,018 acres Sunday Morning and was listed at 1 percent contained. A community meeting is planned at the fairgrounds in Superior at 6 p.m. The meeting will also be streamed on the West Lolo Complex Facebook page.

Air quality diminished in many western Montana communities Saturday, reaching both the unhealthy for sensitive and unhealthy benchmarks. For more information on how to mitigate the health impacts of wildfire smoke, go to montanawildfiresmoke.org. You can also check out how to create your own box fan air filter here.

Goose Fire prompts campground closures

Fire activity picked up on the 962 acre Goose Fire burning 32 miles south of Ennis this afternoon as the fire moved toward Cliff and Wade Lakes. There is currently active fire behavior on the north end of the fire and officials are working with the Sheriff’s office to evacuate Wade Lake, Hilltop, and Cliff Point campgrounds.

Updated 12:31 a.m., July 11, 2021.

The Missoula County Sheriff’s office issued an evacuation warning from the Idaho border to Lolo Hot Springs late Saturday night due to the emerging Lolo Creek Fire. The three-to-five-acre wildfire is located between mile marker one and two approximately one mile away from highway 12.

Police say if you are traveling along highway 12, do not stop. Deputies are notifying residents and visitors along highway 12 of the evacuation notice. 

Multiple helicopters are on scene along with engines and firefighters. A fire weather watch is in effect through tomorrow evening. High temperatures and dry conditions are expected along with gusty winds.

If you are in the area, you can get updates by enrolling with smart911. MTPR will provide updates as they become available. 

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Explore what wildfire means for the West, our planet and our way of life, with Fireline, a six-part series from Montana Public Radio and the University Of Montana College of Business.

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