Multiple Agencies Battle Miller Creek Wildfire [AUDIO]
A grass fire that may have been started by a hot chain saw took off on Sunday afternoon and burned upwards of 60 acres in the Upper Miller Creek area.
Assistant Rural Fire Chief Brent Christofferson said the initial call came in at about 2:30 p.m.
"We were dispatched to a wildland fire at 9580 Miller Creek Road on Sunday afternoon, and we were told that the fire was spreading fast up the hill, Christofferson said. "The fire grew to 50 to 60 acres, and we called in assistance right away from DNRC, the Forest Service, Missoula City Fire, Clinton Fire, Frenchtown, Florence, East Missoula, there were a lot of folks here helping us."
"We had three helicopters on the fire, two single-engine aircraft, and we had two heavy aircraft, so we had a combination of water drops and retardant to suppress this thing," he said. "We had those high transmission lines that Northwestern Energy uses to supply electricity to the area, and those were threatened for awhile. Talking with the Northwestern representative, he said they would have had to deenergize the lines, which would have cut off power to the Bitterroot, but we were able to stop the fire from impinging on those lines, and some communications towers that are fairly close by, as well."
Christofferson said some homes were threatened by the blaze.
"There were a couple of homes, one in particular that were close to where the fire started that were somewhat threatened, although, we were able to keep the fire in check and away from those homes," Christofferson said.
The fire was settling down for the night when this report was filed at about 8:30 p.m.
"The fire is about 15 to 20 percent contained," Christofferson said. "We do feel good now that the temperatures have dropped and the humidity is rising, but there sure was a time today with the hot temperatures and the wind, that it was touch and go for awhile."
Christofferson said the actual cause of the fire is under investigation, and that no one has been injured either fighting the fire, or by the fire itself. Christofferson said the notion that the wildland fire season is over, can officially be put to rest.