A wildland firefighter assigned to the Granite Pass Complex was found safely just after midnight on Monday morning, according to Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jeannette Smith.

“A firefighter on the Granite Pass Complex was scouting an area suitable for fire line and missed his scheduled check in at approximately 7:30 p.m. on July 25,” said Smith. “Missoula County Dispatch was notified of the missing individual and California inner- agency Incident Management Team 15 assigned to the Granite Pass Complex began multiple attempts to contact the male firefighter. Unable to reach the male the team began to search by ground and air.”

Smith said Missoula County Search and Rescue was called out to assist in the effort.

“Missoula County Sheriff's Office deputies and Missoula County Search and Rescue were dispatched at 8:20 p.m.,” she said. “The individual’s vehicle was located in the vicinity of the White Mountain Lookout and Pilot Knob. That area is southwest of Missoula. That vehicle was found at approximately 9:40 p.m.”

Smith said Two Bear Air Rescue out of Whitefish joined in the search.

“Mutual Aid request immediately went out to Two Bear Air by Missoula County Search and Rescue and Sheriff's Office staff,” she said. “Airspace was cleared with the incident management team and Two Bear Air began assisting Missoula County Search and Rescue ground resources. The individual who was missing relayed they were not in their intended location and radio and phone communication was not available. To minimize impacts to himself and local search and rescue resources, he found an area suitable to stay the night.”

Smith said the rescue occurred just after midnight on Monday.

“The male was located by Missoula County Search and Rescue just after midnight on July 26,” she said. “He was tired and thirsty but uninjured, and was able to make his way out unassisted by Missoula County Search and Rescue volunteers. We just want to thank all those who coordinated and assisted in the search efforts, in particular Two Bear Air was instrumental in locating the individual. Missoula County Sheriff's Office is very thankful for the positive outcome.”


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