MTPR

Lincoln County

The Libby eagle sits above downtown Libby, Montana.
Nicky Ouellet

In about a year, the Environmental Protection Agency will leave Libby, where it’s worked for the last two decades to clean up asbestos contamination, a lethal byproduct leftover from W.R. Grace’s vermiculite mine. But locals in Lincoln County say the EPA packing up doesn’t necessarily mean cleanup work is done.

The town of Libby. The Highway 37 Fire is burning 1.5 miles away from the former W.R. Grace vermiculite mine.
Courtesy Photo

Highway 37 fire, updated 4:20 p.m. July 20, 2018

A fire near the former vermiculite mine and a section of asbestos-contaminated forest outside Libby is drawing a quick response from crews working to control it.

The Highway 37 Fire, spotted Thursday evening about 4 miles north of Libby, quickly grew to about 50 acres today.

About 300 people came to the first public meeting about the Gibralter Ridge Fire at Eureka High School last night
Nicky Ouellet

I met Jarrell Miller at the fire information meeting in Eureka Wednesday night.

He was one of the first people to respond to the Gibralter Ridge Fire east of town late Monday night, he says the forest looked a little like winter.

"You would think it was snowing but it was glowing," Miller said, "glowing embers that were flying, and then everywhere those landed- they landed all around - there was potential for thousands or millions of fires, but only a few of them would ignite."

Closure Order for areas effected by Gibralter Fire.
Inciweb

About 30 homes near Eureka were evacuated before dawn today after the fast-growing Gibraltar Ridge Fire was discovered east of town. People quickly mobilized to provide a shelter at the Church of God.

Lora Ercanbrack is with the American Red Cross relief team in Lincoln County. She arrived to the church shelter early Tuesday morning around 6 a.m. to greet weary evacuees, some of whom had already been up for several hours. 

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

Funding for a Libby asbestos program is now on hold while the federal government investigates allegations of misspent grant money.

Libby’s Asbestos Resource Program helps residents manage asbestos if they plan to disturb soil on their property. It’s funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

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