Fire Burning On Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge

Apr 19, 2019

A 300 acre-wildfire is burning on the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge just north of Stevensville. 

Mike Granger is fire management officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana. He says the fire is the result of a slash pile burn that got out of control Friday afternoon.

"Today was a good burn day. We had a good burn planned for it and so we went ahead and lit the slash pile this morning. But the winds got on it this afternoon and it got away on us."

Granger says the entire fire is burning on the refuge and that no buildings or communities are threatened.
"It’s bordered by the [Bitterroot] river to the west and then we have some interior roads in the refuge itself that it’s burning up against. We’ve got a lot of good interagency support and cooperation on the fire, so we have local fire departments, Forest Service and of course there's Fish and Wildlife Services resources on it."

Granger says at least six fire engines are working the fire.

Officials aren’t calling the fire on the Lee Metcalf refuge contained or controlled yet, but Granger says firefighters are optimistic.

The weather forecast calls for gusty winds in the Bitterroot Valley Friday evening and possibly some rainfall.