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Lolo Peak fire at 33,000 acres, Red Flag Warning issued - KXLF.com | Continuous News | Butte, Montana

Lolo Peak fire at 33,000 acres, Red Flag Warning issued

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The Lolo Peak fire continues to burn between Lolo and Florence in the Bitterroot Valley. (MTN News photo) The Lolo Peak fire continues to burn between Lolo and Florence in the Bitterroot Valley. (MTN News photo)

FLORENCE - Fire managers are gearing up for a windy afternoon that could test the fire lines on the 33,000-acre Lolo Peak fire.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday potentially bringing strong, erratic winds between 35-40 mph with gusts up to 50.

Firefighters will patrol along 93 and 12 highway corridors, control lines and in communities for structure protection. Due to the likelihood of new starts that may occur with the anticipated dry lightning, firefighters will be prepared for initial attack, according to fire managers.

Evacuations were downgraded Tuesday evening to warning status for Missoula County residents from the County Line Road north to the Carlton Creek Road. Evacuations and warnings are still in effect and can change at any time based on fire behavior.

Missoula County fire evacuees can call (406) 258-4636 for more information. Ravalli County evacuees should call (406) 375-4055 for the latest evacuation information.

Authorities note that as residents return home, they may see changes that have occurred to their property as a result of firefighting operations.  Once home, the property should be checked for evidence of fire. Contact 911 if any danger is perceived.

Click here to view the latest evacuation information

The number of structures threatened by the Lolo Peak fire has dropped from 771 to 704. Two homes have burned as a result of the Lolo Peak fire as well as several other structures.

Highway 12 west of Lolo has been fully opened to traffic near the blaze with a reduced speed limit of 45 mph. Old Highway 93 remains closed to all traffic from Tie Chute Lane north to the Missoula County line.

Fire managers report crews strengthened control lines on Tuesday and mopped up in preparation for potential critical fire weather moving into the area Wednesday evening.

Mop up continued to secure the control line along the Highway 93 corridor from Lolo south to One Horse Creek and Highway 12 west to the Mill Creek area. 

Fire managers say that the fire west of Florence remains a concern to fire managers as it continues to have the potential to move south. Additional control lines south of Florence were improved with hose lays, pumps, and portable water tanks on Tuesday.

Staffed fire information is available at Farmers State Bank parking lot at 5501 Old Highway 93 North in Florence; and the FireWise Trailer, located at the weigh station in Lolo at the corner of Highways 12 and 93.

There are now over 1,200 people assigned to battle the Lolo Peak fire.

WEATHER
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