The fire danger in Missoula County and most of Western Montana dropped yesterday, September 7, after a cold and rainy Labor Day weekend. Missoula County Emergency Services Director Adriane Beck explains.
Mineral County and parts of Missoula County underwent new fire evacuations this past weekend as the West Fork Fish Creek Fire continued to grow to over 12,000 acres. But within the past 48 hours, fire information officer Kim Smolt said clear skies have finally led firefighters to get eyes on the fire for the first time since the fire started.
The Sheep Fire, part of the Thompson-Divide Complex, blew up on Thursday, prompting the closure of an 8-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 2 and evacuation notices for more than 100 homes and businesses. However, NBC Montana reports clouds and heavy smoke made the Sheep Fire less active on Friday.
The fire season was behaving for the most part this year, but not anymore. The smoke from dozens of fires in the northwest has filled the Bitterroot and Missoula valleys and has created some hazardous air quality. So much so, that the weather service has integrated new "smoke prediction technology," into their forecasting arsenal.
On Monday night, the Missoula area was hit with one of the most violent (and quickest) storms in recent memory. According to NBC Montana, nearly 18,000 people were without power. Once the storm let up, we drove around some of the busier intersections with our hands-free recording device to take a look around.
Everyone has heard that large portions of Montana are in severe drought, but The chief of fire and aviation for Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Ted Mead says the total number of acres burned by fire this year is actually down.
Just hours after the county went under an "Extreme" fire danger designation, Missoula County Commissioners voted this morning, June 30, to enact Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, which will be enforced starting Thrusday morning, July 2.
The Thompson River Complex, four lightning-caused fires burning in very steep, rocky terrain, discovered Aug. 1, continues to be managed by an ICT 3 management team on the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District on the west side of the Lolo National Forest.
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