ELMO - The Elmo Fire exploded Monday afternoon as heavy winds started pushing the fire east, some residents were forced to evacuate their homes immediately.
“We got up and checked this morning and it was still up on the hill side, and it has run pretty significantly in the last few hours," said Dayton resident Jeremy Gibbs.
Gibbs lives in Dayton on Black Lake Road off Highway 93.
Changing winds and fast-moving fire forced his family and neighbors to evacuate Monday afternoon.
“I just hope all of our neighbors were able to get out and get all of the very important things out because this is blowing up, it’s turning dire,” said Gibbs.
Northern Rockies Team 7 Public Information Officer Sara Rouse said conditions changed rapidly Monday afternoon.
“This afternoon we had some winds come out of the west pushing the fire east and northeast from what we saw yesterday, and along with those winds we were unable to have our aircraft up at that time so it just sort of created this perfect culmination for some pretty active fire,” said Rouse.
Rouse said fire crews are attacking the fires edge utilizing aircraft as the number of personnel working on the fire continues to grow.
“Yesterday evening we had 293 people, again there are more resources rolling in throughout the day so that number will climb up tomorrow morning,” added Rouse.
Gibbs has lived in Dayton since 2017, he’s never seen a wildfire this close to home.
“I’ve never seen it burn over here; I’ve been in close proximity to other wildfires that have burned in recent years but never near my residence,” added Gibbs.