SEELEY LAKE - A wildfire burning outside of the town of Seeley Lake is holding steady at 4,390 acres as of Thursday morning and remains 0% contained.
Fire managers report fire activity remained moderate on Wednesday and an overnight infrared flight mapped the fire at approximately 4,937 acres.
Smoke may be visible along Montana Highway 83 northeast of the fire on Thursday as crews conduct burning operations along the west side of Forest Road 646.
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office has issued an evacuation order for the following locations:
- Highway 83 between mile marker 31 (Beaver Creek Road) south to mile marker 27, including residences in Rovero Flats.
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office has issued an evacuation warning for the following locations:
- Residences on Beaver Creek Road (near the summit).
- Residences on the north and south ends of Lake Inez
The American Red Cross has a shelter for evacuees at the Blackfoot Community Bible Church in Ovando on standby in case it is needed.
The north and south Structure Protection Groups are performing structure assessments, removing fuels, and installing water-handling equipment where needed.
Helicopters will be used to drop water on the fire and have been very effective when needed.
The Lolo and Flathead national forests have closed several forest roads, areas, and campgrounds near the fire area for public safety. The list of current closures includes:
- Forest Road 906 (closed at Highway 83)
- Rainy Lake Campground access road 4357 (closed at Highway 83)
- Rainy Lake Campground -Alva Lake Campground access road (closed by gate at Highway 83)
- Alva Lake Campground -Lakeside Campground access road (closed by gate at Highway 83)
- Lakeside Campground -Forest Road 646 (closed at the junction of FSR 552; FSR 4354; Forest Road 552 (beyond the turn-off to west side Lake Inez access)
- Forest Road 5507 and 463 closed beyond the West Side snowmobile trailhead (these roads access the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Marshall Wildlife Management Area and Lake Marshall)
- Temporarily closing the Forest System Road loops of the Clearwater (FSR 4370 and 4353) and Richmond (FSR 667 and 720)
Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks has issued a temporary closure on part of the Marshall Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA), northwest of the town of Seeley Lake. 5,000-acre WMA.
The Colt Fire was sparked by lightning on Monday, July 17, and was first detected the following morning.
There are currently 522 people assigned to the blaze.
Drivers are asked not to stop along Highway 83 near the fire due to nearby fire activity and an increase in traffic.