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West Lolo Complex fires grow to 2,400 acres

West Lolo Complex
Posted at 10:57 AM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 12:57:02-04

The West Lolo Complex fires burning in Mineral and Sanders counties has grown to over 2,400 acres and is now 16% contained.

A community meeting will be held Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m. at the Thompson Falls Rural Fire Department, located at 1811 West Main Street Thompson Falls.

The meeting will be recorded and available for viewing after its conclusion on the West Lolo Complex Facebook page and the West Lolo Complex YouTube Channel.

Eight of the fires initially assigned in the West Lolo Complex have been contained and command of those fires returned to the local ranger districts for patrol by local personnel.

Those fires include Siegel, Sunset, Cataract, Deep Creek, Upper Graves Creek, Quinn, Sheep Creek and Thompson. Resources from these contained fires have been re-assigned to fires prioritized by their threats to values at risk.

Firefighters are focusing their efforts on completing containment lines on Deep Lookout Mountain Fire and securing the fire’s perimeter.

The Tuesday update notes there are 125 structures threatened by the West Lolo Complex fires. A total of 363 people are assigned to the complex which has cost an estimated $6.7 million to fight.



Superior Ranger District:

Deep Lookout Mountain Fire: 365 acres, located on the upper reaches of the Deep Creek Drainage, north of I-90, 12 miles east of Superior, and five miles west of Stark Mountain Lookout

Minimal fire behavior was observed Monday on the Deep Lookout Mountain Fire as containment lines were tested by winds. Brief periods of increased fire activity in isolated pockets of unburned fuel within the fire’s perimeter could result from strong winds and isolated thunderstorms today. Firefighters will continue building depth with mop-up operations along the fire’s perimeter to strengthen containment lines. Additional resources will be shifted to the Thorne Creek Fire as containment is completed.

Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District:

Thorne Creek Fire: 2,043 acres, located North East of Thompson Falls

Monday the Thorne Creek Fire slowly spread west down the Thorne Creek and Winniemuck drainages. Tuesday's weather forecast may temporarily push the fire in multiple directions. If smoke begins to clear out, winds will be strong enough to increase fire behavior across the fire area.

Single and group tree torching may occur. If the winds do not develop, moderate fire behavior is likely and will continue backing on the north slopes of Winniemuck Creek and the drainage to the west. Heavy equipment made good progress with line preparation along Bark Table Road to Priscilla Peak and Thompson River Road, and from Bark Table Road to Highway 200. Firefighters will continue utilizing heavy equipment to construct indirect control lines from Weber Gulch Trailhead to the Thompson River Road.

Resources will look for indirect line opportunities to the North near Upper Graves Creek Road to Sundance Ridge. The Thorne Creek Fire is being managed as a full suppression fire but due to its location in the steep, rugged terrain of the Cube Iron/Silcox area, the Thorne Creek Fire poses an extreme risk to firefighter safety. Long-term management utilizing indirect strategies and close coordination with private landowners and cooperators for line construction placement and access points is underway.