The Lolo Creek Complex has already claimed five homes and several outbuildings up Highway 12, and over 1,200 homes were served earlier this week with pre-evacuation notices. Homeowners are concerned as to whether or not their insurance will cover damage caused by a wildfire.

There is good news out of the State Insurance Commissioner's office in Helena, from Communications Director Jennifer McKee.

"Fire, whether its started by your stove, a lightning strike, or a wildfire is covered," McKee said on Thursday afternoon. "Its a covered peril, and that's what insurance is for. The fact that it might be considered an "act of God", that is not something people need to worry about. Our office encourages people to contact their insurance company for details. Its also important to remember, in a crisis like this, lots of people will be making that same call, so be patient, but persistent."

McKee encouraged Lolo area residents to be safe around fire activity.

"Even if you want to document what you have, and you're afraid you might lose it, and that's ordinarily a really good idea," McKee said. "But, if your home is in an area that's been closed and its dangerous to go back in there, don't do it. Also, if you're out of your home for some time, save your receipts for meals and lodging and other necessities you may have to buy. Not everything will be covered, but without the receipts, you may be out of luck when it com,es time to be reimbursed by your insurance company."

McKee also had advice for homeowners who are not in immediate fire danger.

"One thing you can do before a disaster is to keep an inventory list," McKee said. "There's actually a free checklist on our website. Get your important papers and keep them in a place where you can grab them if you have to leave quickly. Be careful, and know that we're all thinking of you."

Office of Insurance Commissioner Director of Communications Jennifer McKee