Just after 1:30 on Wednesday afternoon, 9-1-1 dispatched Missoula Rural Fire to a controlled burn that had been fanned by gusty winds just south of Lolo.

Acting Battalion Chief Michael Bowman said when the first engines arrived about three to four acres were burning.

“We had wind gusts anywhere between 20 to 25 miles per hour,” said Bowman, “It was pushing the fire in all different directions. The initial attack began at the north end of the fire, and after arrival we had 9-1-1 dispatch mutual aid from the Florence Fire Department who sent two units to assist. They were able to provide structure protection for the homes we thought were threatened initially on the south side of the fire. They were able to quickly knock down the fire near those homes.”

Bowman said the fire eventually burned 27.6 acres and affected about 10 different properties.

“All in all we requested mutual aid from Missoula City Fire, Florence Fire, Missoula Rural Fire and the department of Natural Resources and Conservation helping us out in the attack and mop-up phases of the fire.”

Bowman was thankful that despite the rapid wind-driven growth of the fire, no one was injured however, he explained the department’s policy on burn permits.

“It was a valid permit, and we point out that people need to carefully check the weather conditions for the day they burn,” he said. “As part of the permit process the people that light the fire are liable for damage to properties other than their own. In this case no structures or outbuildings were damaged however there are fence posts and commercial trees that were damaged or destroyed, but I haven’t had a full damage report yet.”

Crews were seen returning to the Missoula Rural Fire Department between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.


More From 96.3 The Blaze