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Lolo Peak Fire Burns 51,000 Acres, Now Up to $42.1 Million in Firefighting Costs

Photo courtesy of June Moody
Photo courtesy of June Moody

While Missoula was able to enjoy a few days of blue sky, the Lolo Peak Fire continued its rapid spread, crossing a few major milestones in both acres burned and total cost to fight, Fire Information Officer Angie Hurley explains.

“The current size of the fire is 51,000 acres, said Lolo Peak Fire Information Officer Angie Hurley. “They’re looking at 40 percent containment, and a total cost so far of$42.1 million.”

$42.1 million sounds like a large amount, and it is, especially when one realizes it’s about $10 million more expensive than any Montana fire before 2017. Hurley explains where the firefighting efforts are focused this week.

“They are going to be monitoring the south fork of Lolo Creek, where it has been working its way up the saddle, just as it meets there with Bass Creek, so they’ll be watching that,” Hurley said. “Brushy Creek Drainage, that’s sort of on the west side of the fire, the fire’s still been slowly working it’s way down into the drainage back there, we’re hoping that when it hits that, there will be a lot more moisture in the fuels at the bottom of that drainage. We’re hoping it will just slow the fire down.”

The fire is also still active in the Sweeney Creek area, and lots of smoke could be seen near Florence on Sunday (see picture above!). There are still evacuation warnings on Highway 12 and Highway 93, but Hurley says discussions occur daily with the Sheriff’s department on possibly lifting those warnings.

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