UPDATE - 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 30

Fire Information officer Brian LaMoure at the Firestone Flats fire burning on the Flathead Reservation said residents will be allowed back into their homes as of 5:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

"The really good news is that, conditions permitting, that we're going to allow the residents back into their homes tonight at 5 o'clock," LaMoure said. "They'll have to check in at what they call the Wye, but they're also waiting because we're grading the road, which is making the residents very happy, as well. The fire's heavy equipment has been going over that road and it needed some improvement to get them in and out quickly and safely, but we're pleased to be allowing residents back into their homes, conditions permitting."

LaMoure said the fire is now about 40% contained, still at around 1750 acres, and said the costs associated with the fire are now above $750,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, although there has been no lightning in the area for over a week.

Fire Information Officer Brian LaMoure

UPDATE - 5:00 p.m. Monday, July 29

The Firestone Flats fire burning on the Flathead Reservation has been held to 1750 acres, according to fire information officer Cindy Super.

"Things went well today," Super said. "Things went a little slower than they anticipated. They wanted to do a burnout operation on the northeast side of the fire, but after evaluating that, they decided to go direct, so that's what they've been doing today."

Super says the forces fighting the fire remain from over the weekend.

"We've got three hotshot crews, four type-two crews, 13 engines, 12 pieces of heavy equipment, five tenders, three helicopters and an air attack over the fire," Super said. "Evacuations are still in effect, and we are allowing residents to visit their homes accompanied by an escort."

Super said the conditions are so hot and dry that almost anything can spark a fire.

"As we learned in Frenchtown, even a lawn mower striking a rock can start a wildfire," Super said. "As you know, we're looking at State One fire restrictions in Missoula County and the surrounding counties will be following suit on August 1st. People need to be aware if they're working out in the grass with any equipment to be extra careful, A simple thing like pulling over to the side of the road if you have a trailer with a problem, make sure you're not putting hot brakes into dry grass. Its amazing what can happen in conditions like this."

Fire Information Officer Cindy Super

photo courtesy of DNRC