ELMO - The Niarada and Mill Pocket fires off Montana Highway 28 west of Elmo started over the weekend.
Since then, the high winds that have picked up in the afternoon hours have continued to push the blazes east toward Elmo. Both of the fires started from lightning strikes and are burning in steep and rugged terrain.
“Actually, had walked all around the fire, it was about 25-30 acres at that point and of course, the high winds came in with those red flags warnings and pretty much got out of any containment lines that we had,” said Missoula Smokejumper Andrew Pattison, who was one of the first firefighters on scene of the Niarada Fire Sunday morning.
The fire eventually crossed Highway 28 burning in grass and timber, running uphill. Pattison said last year’s Elmo Fire helped mitigate potential fuels on the north side of the fire allowing firefighters to attack.
“Like I said the northside is starting to look pretty good and the south side is a little more challenging, the fuels are a little more continuous and maybe tougher to get through, so it’s tough but we do have cooler weather on the way so hopefully that will help moderate fire behavior.”
Pattison said this is the fourth wildfire he’s been deployed on this summer.
“There’s always risk in firefighting, but I think all of us as firefighters are willing to take on some of that risk to help people out.”