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

Ronan man charged with arson in connection with Boulder 2700 fire

The Boulder 2700 Fire burning near Highway 35 about eight miles east of Polson, July 31, 2021.
Shaylee Ragar
/
Montana Public Radio
The Boulder 2700 Fire burning near Highway 35 about eight miles east of Polson, July 31, 2021.

A Lake County man has been arrested for allegedly starting the Boulder 2700 fire that burned down more than a dozen homes on the east side of Flathead Lake last year.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office charged Craig Allen McCrea of Ronan with starting the Boulder 2700 fire. McCrea was alleged to have intentionally started two other fires near Polson. He has been charged with three felony counts of arson.

Law enforcement officials said the Boulder 2700 fire burned nearly 3,000 acres, and the lack of vegetation in the burn area has created hazardous conditions along Highway 35.

Evidence gathered by Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes fire investigators identified arson as the cause of the fires. The sheriff’s office utilized cell phone data along with thousands of hours of video footage from local businesses and residents to identify McCrea as the suspect.

McCrea is being held in the Lake County jail, and is scheduled to appear in court next week.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.