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

The wrong number was listed for Elmo fire evacuation information

Montana Public Radio wildfire news

The 1-800 number for evacuees that’s been published on the fire-information website Inciweb and repeated in numerous news stories about the Elmo fire was incorrect.

When called by MTPR multiple times Wednesday afternoon, that number appeared to go to a line that’s a scam aimed at people over 50 years old.

After MTPR alerted the Elmo Fire incident contact listed on Inciweb, they acknowledged the line that was posted wasn’t working and said they were in touch with the Red Cross to establish a functional phone number for evacuees to call.

The Red Cross did post the correct number on twitter earlier this week. That number was two digits different from the one initially posted to Inciweb.

A Red Cross spokesperson said responding to disasters is a team effort and evacuation shelters are open at the Polson High School and Sommers Middle School. The correct number for evacuees to call is 1-800-272-6668.

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.

Updated: August 3, 2022 at 10:14 PM MDT
This story has been updated with a comment from the Red Cross.
Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.