Fire Near Lolo – New High Temperature Records Set in Missoula
Just after 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Missoula Rural Fire was dispatched to a possible structure fire near Neil Drive in Lolo. The caller reported hearing a loud ‘pop’ and a power line had fallen causing smoke and flames.
However, while crews were responding, the dispatch was changed to a wildland fire with structures in the area being threatened.
Crews arrived at the Mill Creek and Thayer Road area where a wildfire driven by gusty winds was threatening several homes.
Several agencies joined Missoula Rural Fire to battle the fast-moving blaze, including DNRC, (Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) Forest Service, Florence Fire, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and Missoula Electric Co-op.
There were ten fire engines on the scene and three DNRC helicopters battling the fire, which was quickly contained and limited to 10 acres in tall grass and forested areas.
DNRC crews stayed overnight to monitor the blaze and no structures were lost. No injuries were reported even though the firefighters were laboring in full gear in record heat.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The National Weather Service Office in Missoula also reported to us early Monday morning that high-temperature records were set over the weekend.
Meteorologist Luke Robinson said high-temperature records were set on both Friday and Sunday.
“Here in Missoula yesterday we broke a record,” began Robinson. “We reached 104 degrees, and that broke the record of 102 which was set last year. The day before yesterday, we broke a record. We reached 102, and that broke a record of 100 set in 2000.”
Robinson also provided an update on some major fires burning in western Montana and Idaho.
“We had a wildfire that started this weekend near Elmo, Montana, southwest of Dayton on the west side of Flathead Lake,” he said. “The really warm and dry conditions and winds gusting up to 20 miles per hour allowed that fire to really spread quickly. It continues to grow and is very active.”
Robinson also provided an update on a very large fire burning to the west of Missoula in Idaho.
“We have the Moose fire which is burning just north of Salmon which has been burning for the last several days in really hot and dry conditions in that area has allowed the fire to continue to grow, as well,” he said. “Last I heard, it was over 40,000 acres in size."
With the hot and dry conditions, all fire agencies urge those recreating to be extremely careful with fire.
After Sunday’s fire near Lolo, Missoula Rural Fire specifically asked residents to create a defensible space around their homes and be prepared to evacuate if necessary.