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

Evacuation orders lifted for Matt Staff Fire, eased for Elmo Fire

An aerial view of a hilltop blackened with ash from the Matt Staff Fire. Burnt deadfall smoulders among standing, live pines. Smoke rises from the valley below, and Canyon Ferry Reservoir is visible in the background.
Sheriff Leo Dutton
Lewis & Clark Sheriff's Department
Aerial view of the Matt Staff Fire from the evening of August 05, 2022.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office this weekend lifted some evacuation orders and pre-evacuation warnings in place due to the Elmo Fire. As of Sunday night, Camp Tuffit/West Shore Road remains under evacuation order and is closed to all traffic.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for residents along Lake Mary Ronan Road (Hwy 352) west of Dayton Creek Road. This area will remain under pre-evacuation warning and open to residents and guests only.

Managers say favorable weather helped them improve containment on the fire's north and west sides. The fire is reported as 30% contained.

The fire is burning between Elmo on the west shore of Flathead Lake and Lake Mary Ronan to the northwest. Around 150 homes in the area were in the evacuation zones last week.

The blaze was first reported on July 29th and has grown to 21,327 acres, according to an update Sunday morning on the fire information site Inciweb.

A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on August 8th at the Elmo Pow Wow Grounds.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Matt Staff Fire

The Lewis & Clark County Sheriff's Office Saturday lifted all evacuation orders in place due to the Matt Staff Fire 12 miles east of Helena.

Fire managers say this weekend's cooler, wetter weather helped them make good progress on the 1,587 acre fire, which they expect to have completely contained Tuesday.

Some roads in the area remain closed to non-resident traffic.

The fire broke out in a grassy area off Highway 12 Thursday afternoon and threatened nearby homes.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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.

Josh Burnham is MTPR's digital editor. He works on the news team and as a content strategist managing the station's website, podcasts, email newsletters and social media.
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