National Team Takes Over Lolo Creek Complex - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

National Team Takes Over Lolo Creek Complex

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LOLO CREEK -

A national, Type I Incident Management Team took over fire operations at six this morning, and mapped out a new plan of attack on the Lolo Creek Complex.

Members of the Type I team said they've partnered with the Missoula Rural Fire Department to tackle the Lolo Creek Complex.

On Wednesday, the team took advantage of breaks in the weather to construct fire lines and protect structures at risk.

Paula Short of the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team said national teams are brought on to an incident when a wildfire becomes to large or complex for local agencies to handle alone.

"The team that is here on the Lolo Complex is trained to handle fires of the highest complexity," Short said.

Fire officials said today the team set up an incident command post at the Lolo Community Center, where hundreds of fire personnel will coordinate fire management.

Short said, "They bring resources, they bring specialized expertise in everything from air operations, to GIS support, to logistical support, to everything from feeding the firefighters to lining them out with their work and keeping them safe."

Fire officials said the national team is comprised of fire fighters and management personnel from Missoula, Kalispell, Bozeman and a few individuals from out of state.

"They are a national team, but they definitely have ties locally, and most of them have fought fire in this area many times before, so they're well-versed in the terrain out here, the topography, the fuels and what the fire potential is," Short said.

Short said the rapid growth of the Lolo Creek Complex indicates just how dangerous current fire conditions are in Montana.

"This fire is very dynamic, and it's still actively burning, there's a lot of fire out on the landscape, our number one priority is always keeping everyone safe, our firefighters as well as the homeowners," she said.

Currently, the active blaze is threatening about 1,200 residences located in a grass and timber-filled canyon area.

"This is not a giant fire, but it certainly has a lot of complexity with the amount of structures that are threatened, the conditions that we have out here," Short said.

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