MISSOULA — Three fires burning on Lolo Pass, including the Lolo Creek Fire on the Missoula Ranger District in Montana and the BM Hill and Shotgun Fires on the Powell Ranger District in Idaho, are now being managed under the Granite Pass Complex, Type 3 Incident Command.
Officials say managing the fires under one incident commander improves efficiency and simplifies incident management processes.
All fires in the Granite Pass Complex are being managed under a full suppression strategy. The fires have been prioritized by the values at risk. Public and firefighter safety is the number one priority. In addition, minimizing impacts to private property and structures, and highway corridors.
Lolo Creek and BM Hill Fires Update: Yesterday, the BM Hill fire grew substantially toward the north and east. The BM Hill Fire is approximately 837 acres in size and is now burning on the Lolo National Forest northwest of Highway 12. The Lolo Creek Fire is now approximately 60 acres in size. These two fires are expected to merge into one fire in the coming days. Yesterday, firefighters observed a smoke column on the BM Hill Fire. Fire behavior included short-sustained crown runs, single and group tree torching producing spot fires up to ¼ mile in front of the main fire front.
Shotgun Fire Update: The Shotgun fire is located seven miles north of the junction and is approximately 50 acres, burning in heavy dead and downed timber in steep terrain. Firefighters are assessing suppression options for this fire.
Planned Actions: At this time, limited firefighter resources are focusing their efforts on are completing structure protection and preparation in the Lolo Hot Springs and Granite Hot Springs area. This includes removing or clearing vegetation, creating small fuel breaks around structures, and removing woodpiles and other flammable material away from structures when possible.
Evacuation Information: The Missoula County Sheriff's Office issued an Evacuation WARNING from the Idaho border to Lolo Hot Springs. Deputies will be notifying residents and visitors along Highway 12 of the Warning. Residents and visitors in the area should stay vigilant of the current situation and be ready to immediately leave the area if an evacuation ORDER is issued. If you are traveling along Highway 12 please do not stop. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/MissoulaCountySheriffsOffice [facebook.com] .
For continued information please follow the Lolo National Forest Facebook Page [facebook.com]
Granite Pass Complex InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7653/ [inciweb.nwcg.gov]
Closures: Fire managers are evaluating the need for expanded closures in the area that would include the existing BM Hill Fire closures [fs.usda.gov] along with potential closures west and north of Highway 12.
Missoula Ranger District
- The Lee Creek Campground has been closed to support fire operations.
- Granite Creek Road #9942 is closed at milepost 1.9 at the junction with North Road #4209 to its junction with road #595.
- Granite Creek Road #4200 is closed from milepost 0.9 at the gate to its end.
- Granite Ridge Trail #289 is closed from milepost 0.00 at junction road #4200 to the end.
- State Line Trail #46 is closed from junction with trail #1314 to the junction with road 9942.
Powell Ranger District
- The Lolo Pass Visitor Center is currently closed [fs.usda.gov] due to fire activity.
- Granite Pass FSR # 595 – Closed in its entirety.
Travel Information: Motorists on U.S. Highway 12 are urged to use caution while traveling this route due to changing fire conditions. Please do not stop to take photos. For the most current travel information visit Montana Department of Transportation [roadreport.mdt.mt.gov] or Idaho Department of Transportation [511.idaho.gov].