Fire crews' plans for Lolo Peak Fire - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Fire crews' plans for Lolo Peak Fire

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The Lolo Peak Fire has burned 2,904 acres so far.

While it's not threatening any structures yet, it's been spewing smoke into the area for about a week and a half.

ABCFOX Montana went on a tour with the fire team Thursday to find out how they are preparing and planning for the growth of this fire.

Fire crews are trying to contain this fire but it hasn’t been easy because of the rough terrain.  

In fact, it's nearly impossible for firefighters to get close to the fire.

Operation Section Chief, Rick Miller with the Southwest Area Incident Management Team said putting firefighters out on the lines is just too dangerous.

"It's not a safe. If someone was to get hurt, it would take a very long time to get them out of there. Just not a place to put firefighters,” said Miller.

As a result, Fire officials said they are mostly relying on an aerial attack in the meantime.

While rough terrain remains an issue, they have been doing other things around the fire to prepare for the worse.

Miller added for now they are trying to reduce fuel breaks by removing brush and trees that are 4 miles away from the fire.

He said by doing this they're reducing potential flame length and will allow firefighters to stop and control the fire.

However, in order to do this, they are relying on some heavy equipment.

One heavy equipment they rely on is a feller buncher, it can take out two trees at a time and makes removing trees much safer.

"We did have a firefighter here a few weeks ago that was around snags and a tree fell over him and killed him. The operator is going to be safe. A huge tree can hit the cab and the operator is going to be safe,” said John Shotzberger, Division Supervisor Northern Rockies Incident Management Team.

John said the operator will be safe is because the cab's windows are super thick and made with safety glass.

Besides reducing fuel, the fire team has now established a retardant base near Elk Meadow Road, which is north of the fire.

If the fire does get closer, they have retardant available and ready at a moments notice.

"We have two big tanks set up here and each of them holds 5,000 gallons of retardant. We have the largest buckets on the helicopters too, that are 2,000 gallons,” Mike Cole, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team Public Information Officer.

Cole added once this base is being used about 3-4 helicopters will be coming by filling their buckets with retardant.

For now, it's all about preparing and planning for when this fire does come closer to easier terrain.

There are no evacuations in place, but the fire team encourages people nearby to prepare their homes for fires by creating defensible space and keeping their gutters clean.

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