Contact Us

Updated – Grass Fire Started by Lightning Hitting Power Line [AUDIO]

UPDATE – Saturday, August 31, 10:30 a.m.

According to a news release from the Missoula City Fire Department, the grass fire Friday night was caused by a lightning strike that struck a Northwest Energy power line. It appears that the lightning struck a cross member near the top of the pole and caught fire, dropping embers to the ground, catching the grass on fire.

The fire is estimated to be about 80 acres in size, and was 100% contained, however, crews will remain on the scene throughout the day to mop up any hot spots.

Two small fires were spotted north of Missoula on Friday evening, August 30. Boyd Hartwig, spokesman for the Lolo National Forest, said the first fire was burning in rugged terrain in the Rattlesnake Wilderness area.

“The fire started northeast of Point Six up in the Rattlesnake Wilderness, and was burning in about two acres, so we put some helicopters on it,” Hartwig said. “Its remote, and real steep rocky terrain, and we’ll probably put some staff on that fire tomorrow, but there are no structures threatened at this time.”

The dense column of smoke that could be seen from most of Missoula actually came from a grass fire near the Allied Waste disposal area.

“That fire is located northeast of Waterworks Hill on private land that is currently being suppressed,” Hartwig said. “There’s a multi-agency response to that fire, with three single engine tankers, five helicopters, ten engines and a bunch of firefighters, That fire was being pushed by the wind towards Duncan Drive, and that’s the column of smoke people could see north of town. We’ve got a lot of resources on it and it looks like they’re being pretty effective.”

Hartwig said the cause of the Rattlesnake Wilderness fire was probably lightning from the storm on Thursday night, however, the cause of the grass fire near Allied Waste is still under investigation.

Lolo National Forest Spokesman Boyd Hartwig

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Grass Fire
Photo by Peter Christian

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Zootown VIP quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Zootown VIP contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.