A Missoula area transient is in custody Wednesday morning, September 11, after allegedly starting a fire near the Kim Williams Trail at the base of Mount Sentinel.

Sergeant Jerry Odlin with the Missoula Police Department said the call came in at about 3:30 a.m. from residents in the Easy Street neighborhood across the river, reporting a small fire.

"We responded along with the fire department about two miles out from the University of Montana along the Kim Williams Trail," Odlin said. "We located one male, and the fire department reported across the river that there was a fire about a quarter acre in size, but it was down pretty much to just embers with very little active burning."

Odlin said the suspect would be charged with at least two offenses.

"The 41 year-old Missoula area transient has been placed under arrest for a probation violation, and for violating the open burning ordinance," Odlin said.

According to Odlin, if not for the recent rains that have provided extra moisture over the past week, the fire could have taken off and traveled up the side of Mount Sentinel and done considerable damage.

The suspect is now in the Missoula County Detention Center.

Sergeant Jerry Odlin: