UPDATE: Homes burn as Elmo 2 fire hits Lake Mary Ronan | Local News


At least four homes were lost in the Elmo 2 fire on the west side of Flathead Lake near Elmo and Dayton Wednesday morning.

The fire was very active at its northern end, just south of Lake Mary Ronan on Wednesday, according to the incident management team that coordinates firefighting efforts. There is “high potential for the fire to reach the lake by tonight”.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reiterated that anyone in an evacuation zone should leave immediately as the fire could burn above Lake Mary Ronan Road and trap residents who chose to stay along the road or around the lake. Lake County Sheriff Don Bell told the Missoulian in a text message that about 150 homes were under evacuation orders as of noon Wednesday.

Bell expanded evacuation orders on the northeast front of the fire around 4 p.m. Tuesday as gusty westerly winds pushed the blaze toward Lake Mary Ronan Road and Lake Mary Ronan, northeast west of Dayton. An existing evacuation order for homes south of the road remains in place. The entire Lake Mary Ronan Road corridor from US Highway 93 to the lake, and the area around the lake, is now under a full evacuation order.

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Active fire behavior with aggressive fire spread was expected Wednesday and beyond, according to an InciWeb page for the fire. Bell and Northern Rockies Team 7, the incident management team overseeing firefighting efforts, each confirmed on Wednesday that a total of eight structures – four main residences and four outbuildings – had burned.

The fire spread to 18,427 acres Wednesday morning and was 16% contained. The containment took place exclusively along State Highway 28 south of the fire. A perimeter map of the fire included in an update Wednesday morning showed the fire had spread east to Chief Cliff Lane and Black Lake Road, between Dayton and Elmo, near the shore. from Big Arm Bay to Flathead Lake. The fire also started around Red Lake Road, just south of Dayton Creek Road near Lake Mary Ronan Road. All of these areas are subject to evacuation orders.

Evacuation centers have been established at Polson High School and Somers Middle School.

Interstate 93 is only accessible by pilot car between Elmo and Dayton, with potential closures depending on the fire. Authorities are asking the public not to stop on the road to watch the fire. Lake Mary Ronan State Park and the Elmo Fishing Access Area boat ramp are closed to the public.

The cause of the fire, which broke out on Friday afternoon, is still under investigation.

Red flag conditions cause fires

A red flag warning indicating critical fire weather was issued from Wednesday to 9 p.m. Thursday for much of Montana, including the Missoula and Flathead areas. Humidity as low as 13%, sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph gusting up to 40 mph “and an unstable atmosphere will result in critical fire weather Thursday afternoon and evening,” according to the National Weather Service. . The fire danger in Bitterroot National Forest is extreme, the highest of five levels. The fire danger is very high, the second highest level, in the Lolo National Forest. The fire danger is extreme in the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho.

In the Mission Mountains north of Missoula, lightning caused red horn fire rose to 144 acres on Wednesday, according to the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes Fire Division. The fire, which is 0% contained, was discovered around 5:47 p.m. Monday, about 7 miles northeast of St. Ignatius and just south of McDonald Lake on the west side of McDonald Peak in Tribal Mission Mountain. Wilderness. The fire is in a grizzly bear management area that is closed for recreation each year from July 15 to October 1.

The fire does not threaten any structure. Forty-two people are assigned to the fire, working under the aegis of a local Type III incident management team.

“Intense fire activity was visible during the heat of the day yesterday,” the agency said in an update Wednesday. “Aviation will be used for water drops when weather permits. CS&KT Fire Division personnel will actively monitor and assess fire growth and seek suppression opportunities.”

The agency expected “aggressive fire spread” with group tree burning and upslope tree crown burning on Wednesday.

The Marshall Lake Fire, another fire caused by lightning in the Missions, is burning about 12 miles northwest of Seeley Lake and on a mountainside just above Marshall Lake. The fire was discovered around 7:35 p.m. Monday and is burning in heavy wood and dead, downed trees. Firefighters began engaging the fire Monday evening and it was about 1 acre Tuesday, according to Kristin Mortenson, who handles community preparedness and fire prevention for the Department of Forestry’s Southwest Lands office. Natural Resources and Conservancy of Montana.

Two new fires are burning on the same mountainside in the Missions. Crews were dispatched to crystal fire around 2:46 p.m. Tuesday. The fire was originally listed as 1.2 acres, burning on a southeast-facing mountainside northeast of Crystal Lake and southwest of Lindbergh Lake, about 18 miles northwest of Seeley Lake . The light crystal fire was dispatched at 7:47 a.m. Wednesday and listed at 0.25 acres in the same area as the Crystal Fire, about 600 feet upstream and to the north, according to an interactive wildfire map maintained by the DNRC.

The lightning caused weasel fire near the U.S.-Canada border was estimated at 155 acres, down from an initial estimate of 250 acres, according to an update Wednesday from the Kootenai National Forest. The fire is being managed by a local Type III crew and “had minimal growth yesterday”. Sixty-nine people are assigned to the fire, which is located near Camp Creek and Weasel Creek in the Whitefish Mountains of the Kootenai National Forest about 1.65 miles south of the border.

On Wednesday, the fire had moderate behavior with tree burning and localized burning, according to an InciWeb page for the blaze, and active fire behavior was expected for the next few days. The weasel’s cabin was wrapped in protective material on Tuesday.

Grave Creek Road is closed from the Foundation Creek trailhead north to the end of the road at Big Therriault Lake. The Grand and Petit Therriault campsites are closed.

The moose fire near North Fork, Idaho, rose to 62,410 on Wednesday morning from 58,168 acres the previous day. Containment dropped from 23% to 20% due to growing fires. The blaze ignited mid-afternoon on July 17 and grew rapidly amid high winds and red flag conditions over the following week. Red flag conditions over the weekend caused extreme fire behavior. The fire is growing on three fronts – west, south and east – driven by chaotic winds through river canyons, up and down slopes and ridge tops.

Residents of the North Fork area claimed the blaze was caused by an unattended campfire.

The fire saw “active surface and tall crown fire activity” around Pine Creek on Wednesday, and active fire behavior was projected throughout the weekend. Salmon River Road is partially closed, only residents, rafting outfitters and river users with flotation permits are permitted to pass behind a pilot car.

As of Wednesday, 937 people were working on the blaze, including 25 manual crews and 48 engine crews, and aided by 10 helicopters. Large tanker planes were flying over the blaze on Wednesday.

Great Basin Team 1 – a Type I Incident Management Team, the largest and most robust configuration of interagency teams tasked with overseeing wildfire response – assumed command of the incident at 6 morning hours Wednesday. Great Basin Team 2, another Type I team, had been overseeing firefighting efforts since 6 a.m. July 20.

The lightning caused water trough fire about 18 miles southeast of Hamilton there were 749 acres on Wednesday, a growth of just 18 acres from two days earlier. As of Wednesday, 273 staff were working on the fire, which is burning in the Sapphire Wilderness study area through the Bitterroot and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forests and about 5.4 miles east of Black Bear Campground. The fire does not threaten any structure. A Type III team is handling the blaze, but firefighters on the ground are yet to directly engage the blaze, which is in a 22-year-old burn scar, due to “extremely remote, rugged and inaccessible”. The team plans to drop water on the fire by helicopter and ground crews are thinning fuels and building containment lines around the fire.

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