Lolo National Forest initial response activity increases due to recent storms; firefighters respond to two new fire starts up Lolo Creek

August 6, 2019

Lolo National Forest initial response activity increases due to recent storms; firefighters respond to two new fire starts up Lolo Creek

MISSOULA, MT– Following fire-critical weather and severe thunderstorms on Friday and Sunday night, firefighters from the Lolo National Forest spent much of the weekend and past few days actively responding to several new fire starts around the Missoula area. Detection flights were flown Saturday and Sunday afternoon to aid firefighters in identifying news starts.

New Fires for Lolo National Forest:

West Fork Lolo 2 Fire, Missoula Ranger District

Location: 1 mile southwest of Lolo Hot Springs; .5 miles west of Lee Creek Campground across Highway 12

Status: The West Fork Lolo 2 Fire was reported on Aug. 5, 2019 at approx. 2 p.m. Multiple aircraft and firefighters including, one 20-person hand crew responded in initial attack and immediately conducted suppression operations and water bucket drops. Handline was constructed yesterday, and containment is expected by the end of shift today. No evacuations are in effect at this time.

Acres: Approximately 4 acres

Cause: Lightning

Closures: Lee Creek Campground is temporarily closed for staging of firefighting equipment. Additional closures are forthcoming and will include long-term closure of Lee Creek Campground.

Fire Behavior: Interior surface fire in grass, shrub and conifer vegetation.

Structures or other values at risk: None at this time.

Wagon Mountain Fire, Missoula Ranger District

Location: Located on Wagon Mountain, approximately 2 miles northeast of Lolo Pass Visitor Center and east of Highway 12

Status: The Wagon Mountain Fire was detected on Aug. 5, 2019 at approximately 2:30 p.m. by aircraft responding to the West Fork Lolo 2 Fire. After detection, multiple aircraft responded immediately along with firefighters including two engines, one 20-person hand crew from the nearby Beeskove Fire and one 10-person hand crew from the Palouse Ranger District, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. Another 20-person hand crew and an excavator arrived this morning to aid in suppression efforts, with more resources ordered and arriving. Today’s ground operations will be supported by bucket drops from two Type 1 helicopters. The fire is burning in a previously logged area in new regeneration and also in mature spruce and mixed conifer. Due to complexity and fire behavior, a Type 3 Incident Commander is managing the fire. No evacuations are in effect at this time.

Acres: Approximately 15 acres, varying with spot fires

Cause: Lightning

Fire behavior: Active burning, single and group tree torching, spotting and wind-driven runs.

Closures: Lee Creek Campground is temporarily closed for staging of firefighting equipment. Additional closures are forthcoming and will include long-term closure of Lee Creek Campground.

Structures or other values at risk: None at this time

Over the weekend, firefighters responded to four additional wildfire starts; three on the Missoula Ranger District and one on the Ninemile Ranger District. Three of the starts were lightning caused, one was human-caused. All of these fires were .25 acres or less and due to quick response from firefighters, are now contained and controlled.

In addition to lightning maps, fire managers utilize information from four staffed fire lookouts located at Camel’s Hump Lookout (Superior Ranger District), Eddy Mountain Lookout (Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District), Morrell Lookout (Seeley Lake Ranger District), Stark Lookout (Ninemile Ranger District). Fire managers also rely on the public calling in smoke they see while out recreating. If you see smoke, please report it to the Missoula Interagency Dispatch Center at (406) 829-7070 or 911.

2019 Fire Season: The Lolo National Forest remains in very high fire danger. This year to date there have been 50 wildfires within the Lolo National Forest protection area; 32 human caused, 18 lightning caused. So far, approximately 375 acres have been impacted by wildfire on the Lolo National Forest.





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/lolo/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD647323