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State of Emergency Declared in 31 Montana Counties due to Wildfires

Posted by feww on August 20, 2013

Explosive wildfires prompt state of emergency declaration in Montana

Gov Bullock has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in 31 Montana counties, enabling the state to tap the Montana National Guard for helicopters, personnel and other resources.

“To the extent that we need to, we can call on the National Guard to use their assets — their air assets and individuals to help out on state fires,” Bullock said. “First and foremost, we need to ensure individuals are safe, that firefighters are safe. We can figure out the cost of resources later.”

Hundreds under evacuation order as Lolo Complex wildfire spreads

west fork fire growth
West Fork Fire approx 10 miles west of Lolo, Missoula, MT. August 20, 2013. Credit: Lolo National Forest/USFS.

west fork fire growth 1
West Fork Fire approx 10 miles west of Lolo, Missoula, MT. August 20, 2013. Credit: Lolo National Forest/USFS.

Sparked by lightning on August 19, the ferocious Lolo Creek Complex Wildfire has grown explosively consuming more than 5,000 acres, destroying at least 8 structures, prompting hundreds of evacuations and threatening to join the Schoolhouse fire.

“This is a troubling fire for a number of reasons,” said Montana State Forester Bob Harrington. “All along this canyon, along with the side canyons, we have hundreds of homes, as well as the commercial districts in the town of Lolo. This is very problematic.”

U.S. Weather Hazard Map

weather hazmap 20aug2013
Red Flag Warnings, other Warnings, Watches and Advisories for August 20, 2013. Source: NWS. Map enhanced by FIRE-EARTH.

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