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

Evacuations in Elmo as wildfire burns west of Flathead Lake

A smoke plume from a wildfire near Elmo, MT as seen from southwest of Polson around 7 p.m. on July 29th.
Amy Kellogg
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A smoke plume from a wildfire near Elmo, MT as seen from southwest of Polson around 7 p.m. on July 29th.

A wildfire burning on the west side of Flathead Lake led to evacuation orders and warnings in the Elmo area Friday night. The fire had grown to an estimated 7,000 acres by Saturday afternoon, according to Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire Spokesperson C.T. Camel.

On Saturday afternoon, the city of Polson Fire Department posted on its Facebook page that evacuations had been lifted for all areas aside from Black Lake and a Type 2 Incident Command Team had been ordered.

A Red Cross evacuation center has been set up at the Linderman gym in Polson.

A roughly ten mile stretch of Highway 28 west of Elmo remains closed.

The Elmo 2 fire was reported around 7 p.m. Friday, burning in extreme conditions with wind-driven runs. The fire started in grass and moved into timber as it grew. The Northern Rockies Coordination Center reports the fire was human caused.

We'll update this post with more information as it arrives.

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Fireline probes the causes and consequences of the increasingly devastating wildfires burning in the U.S. It taps into the experience of firefighters, tribal land managers, climate scientists and more to understand how we got here and where we're going.