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

Montana wildfire update for July 31, 2023

 A map of the area of the Nirada fire northwest of Polson, MT as of July 31, 203
CSKT Division of Fire
The area of the Nirada fire northwest of Polson, MT as of July 31, 2023.

Evacuation orders and warnings

Evacuation Orders for the Nirada Fire: from the top of the Pass on Browns Meadow Road South to Hwy 28, Nirada. This mandatory evacuation also includes Kofford Ridge Rd.

Evacuation Warning for the Nirada Fire - Hubbart Dam Rd/NF-544 from the intersection of Crossover Rd South to Hwy 28.

Highway 28 may be closed intermittently

The American Red Cross of Montana opened shelters for those displaced by fires over the weekend. They are currently in stand-by, but are prepared to re-open quickly as needed.

Three civilians, one firefighter provided medical care in 20-acre Lolo Fire

Edward F. O'Brien | Montana Public Radio

Bone dry conditions, powerful winds and multiple new wildfire starts kept ground and air firefighting resources busy in recent days.

One relatively small fire late Sunday afternoon packed a powerful punch on the outskirts of Lolo south of Missoula.

Firefighters kept the wind-driven grass and brush fire to approximately 20 acres, but not before it destroyed one mobile home and damaged another. According to a Missoula Rural Fire District news release, the fast moving fire destroyed four shops and garages, 12 outbuildings and damaged or totaled nearly a dozen vehicles.

Three civilians were treated for smoke inhalation and one firefighter suffered a knee injury.

The fire is under investigation.

At least six large fires are now burning in western Montana, several burning more than 5,000 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Hot, dry and breezy conditions are expected to continue throughout the northern Rockies until at least Wednesday. Weather forecasters say cooler temperatures and maybe even some beneficial rain showers are possible late this week.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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